You know all about Italian food, right? Wrong!

OFF to Italy this summer? Looking for some seriously good al fresco dining in the warm Italian evening sun?

Well, you’ll find pizza and pasta galore if you head towards the beautiful Venetian Riviera, where we spent our last family summer holiday.

And, being on the coast, there’ll be more seafood than you can shake a dodgy crabstick at.

But do not be fooled into thinking that is all the Venetian Riviera can offer you, cuisine-wise. It is a veritable treasure trove of undiscovered and unfamiliar foods which, given half a chance, you’ll fall in love with – just as we did.

Here’s a few things you should definitely give a try:

  • Rixi e bixi: a tasty peasants dish consisting of a simple risotto with pancetta and peas cooked in a broth. Yum.
  • Sarde in saor: fried sardines, dipped in partially fried onion in the same oil in which they are fried. Added raisins and pine nuts (traditionally only by winter to increase the calories), other spices and sprinkled with plenty of vinegar.
  • Mołeche: small green crabs, fried. Absolutely delicious, and plentiful.
  • Rixoto de gò: rice prepared with goby also known as – a typical fish of the Venetian Lagoon.
  • Pasta e faxioi: bean soup with noodles.
  • Połenta e schie: small shrimp from the lagoon, fried and perched on a bed of white polenta.
  • Sepe al nero: cuttlefish cooked with their ink.
  • Fegato ała venesiana: a high-class Venetian plate of liver, chopped and fried together with onions.
  • Bigołi in salsa: bigoli pasta served with an anchovy and onion sauce.
  • Pasta e faxioi ała veneta: a soup made with pasta, beans and bacon.
  • Tripe ała veneta: tripe cooked with vegetables, butter and olive oil, then to be served dressed with grated grana cheese.

And if that lot doesn’t make your mouth water and lust after those long hot summer days followed by warm Venetian evenings then there is something very wrong.

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