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Cicchetti & Spritz in Venice

Cicchetti & Spritz – this is Venice!

November 19th, 2022 | Landgänge

Venice offers cicchetti in an incredible range – from the very simple “cut” to the noble cicchetto, which almost means the effort of a small dish. But it’s not always just the cicchetti that create the experience, sometimes it’s certain originals behind the counter. For example Sam at Arcicchetti Bákaro near Piazzale Roma.

Hundreds of spritzes of Aperol, Campari or Cynar poured with white wine and mineral water are served over the counters of Venetian bars. Add these tempting little slices of toasted bread with a wide variety of spreads: tuna, cheese, creamy cod, scampi, bottarga… the variety of cicchetti knows no bounds. Just as little as the individuality of the individual bars.

For example, there is Sam in his Arcicchetti Bákaro. Sam is unique, you can see that at first glance: a very special style, plus a warm and incredibly attentive manner. It’s just fun to stand at his counter and watch him whirl around in his tiny kingdom and never lose sight of the big picture.

A handwritten board shows the different sizes and prices of the drinks and appetizers. Sam keeps handing spritz, wine and cicchetti across the counter. The tables on the terrace are full of young people – the university is close – who are sitting and enjoying themselves in the shade of the church of San Nicola da Tolentino. Even a simple cicchetto with good lardo and a very fine lemon zest tastes sensational in this atmosphere. Sam definitely has the “most entertaining cicchetti” in Venice!

We make the next stop at Al Bottegon. The space-filling shelves with hundreds of different bottles bear witness to the story of how it came about. The Bottegon originated from a wine trade and still supplies the neighborhood with its comprehensive range today.

Padrona Alessandra De Respinis runs this family business with her four sons. She stands behind the counter herself and prepares the various cicchetti. She reveals her recipes in a small cookbook, even in German. For me, the Al Bottegon is one of the most beautiful bácari in Venice, with lovingly prepared cicchetti.

High-quality and sophisticated cicchetti are available at All Arco. The restaurant is small, there is usually no space on one of the narrow shelves in front of the windows. In Venice, however, it is completely natural to stand in the street with your glass of wine, the “ombra”, and enjoy your cicchetti there. By the way, you can read where the term “Ombra” comes from in one of my other posts about Venice.

Once you’ve gotten a place at All Arco, it’s entertaining to watch the hustle and bustle: guests keep coming, ordering bread and wine and disappearing again. We observe how the “Cicchetti Master” produces a wide variety of delicacies and puts one tray after the next on the display with always different variants. In terms of effort, All Arco is a small work of art, almost a small complete dish – just in miniature format. Of course, this also comes at a slightly higher price, which we are happy to pay.

Basically, in Venice you could live exclusively on cicchetti, no matter how many variations and restaurants there are. If it weren’t for the excellent restaurants, which of course also want to be visited.

Back in Germany it is wonderful to host a big Cicchetti Buffet for friends and family. Of course, a glass of spritz is a must. The reactions to my homemade cicchetti are always amazing! That’s why I’ll be putting four recipes online in the next few days. They come from the cookbook with the legendary recipes from Al Bottegon in Venice, which I have tried and tested and have often used.

Look forward to:

Cicchetti with figs, robiola and pistachios

Here is the recipe!

Mortadella rolls

Tuna tartare with chocolate

Octopus carpaccio

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