Venetian Hours: French Venice

By Thursday, February 25, 2016 Permalink 0

Venetian Hours: Franco-Venice and French Cuisine

French Food in Venice

The Venetians might have ruled much of the refined sugar trade in Europe, but by the eighteenth century, they were importing French pastry techniques. “Count Cavour, the first prime minister of a united Italy,” sent his personal chef to be trained in France, while the Italian royal family was eating macaroni à la Parisienne.

Today, the French influence is best seen at the Tonolo pasticceria in the San Polo neighborhood, which won a gold medal in Paris for its sweet focaccia in 1909 and has some of the best coffee in Venice. To say this is a Venetian establishment would be grossly understating it. And it wasn’t the Paris-Brest that hooked me on Tonolo so many years ago: it was the quality of absolutely everything they make, from their coffee to their Venetian pastries to their cream-filled pastries. It was the extreme care taken with the presentation and visual aspects — something many Venetian pastry chefs lack, despite the good taste. After living in France for so long, I immediately felt right at home in Tonolo, so familiar, reminding of my youth when I discovered mille-feuilles and éclairs and tried new pastries every day.

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Make way for the quadruped King of the festival,
Wearing his crown of flowers
and vine leaves.
Make way for the tamest of all
who wear horns,
greet him with music of horn and flute.
People of Paris,
open the path to the triumphant Fattened Ox.
Neither Asia nor Africa
has ever seen better,
this pride and joy of the butcher’s trade.
Light-hearted maidens, and frolicking lads,
pay him due honour
of music and song!
People of Paris, open the path
to the triumphant Fattened Ox.
Make way for the quadruped King of the festival
wearing his crown of flowers
and vine leaves.

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— Giuseppe Verdi, from the choir of butchers in the opera La Traviata

Venetian Hours: Venice Carnival in Blue

By Tuesday, February 9, 2016 Permalink 0

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Venetian Hours

By Monday, February 1, 2016 Permalink 1

Lost in Venice

by Jonell Galloway

I was looking for a new home. Home used to be Kentucky, with its hot hot sun, heady smell of horse sweat, and burly bouquet of drying tobacco; then it was France where I wolfed down tons of good food and fine wine, and Switzerland, with its snow-capped mountains, always there, hugging me and making me feel secure like a mother’s embrace.

After my mother died last year, I no longer knew where to call home. Home became an abstraction, because without Mama’s heart beating in Kentucky, it no longer fit the description. Even with the horse sweat and Burley tobacco.

Kentucky tobacco drying barn, near Hardinsburg, Kentucky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used to say I’d call my imaginary memoir From Biscuits to Baguettes, so much did I feel like France was my second home, even though the first time I set foot in Venice over 30 years ago, I felt I’d come home. How that could be I still don’t know, since I don’t have an ounce of Italian or Venetian blood in my veins. I’ve visited it many times for both short and long periods, and every time, I’ve felt the same, so after my mother’s death, it was a natural enough decision to spend six months here and try it out.

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Venice in Mind: Ponte di Gheto Novo

By Monday, March 23, 2015 Permalink 1

by Jonell Galloway

Reflections of the sestiere of Canareggio in the canal, taken from the Ponte di Gheto Novo, literally the “new ghetto bridge,” leading from Canareggio to perhaps the oldest Jewish ghetto in the world.

 

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