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A Different Type of Meal - Cichetti in Venice
Shannon Essa (Shannon)
One of my favorite things about Venice is its tradition of cichetti. Cichetti (chee-keht-tee) are small portions of food served in bars all over the city, usually with an ombra, which is a small glass of wine. Most Venetians eat cichetti, before lunch or before dinner, or in place of lunch or dinner. Eating cichetti in Venice is a great way to hang out with the locals and to eat some great food at reasonable prices.
When you go out for cichetti, you will eat standing up, hopefully in a crowded room. Mosey up to the bar, where all the cichetti will be displayed before you. A typical cichetto (this is the singular) might be a square of mortadella on a toothpick, or a rice stuffed tomato, or a ball of rice stuffed with an olive and deep fried. Summon the bar-person, order your glass of wine and point to your choice of cichetti, which will then be served to you. The bar-person will keep your tab going and present it to you when you are ready.
Eating cichetti is a social activity, with the day's events being discussed as the wine is quaffed and the bites consumed. You can eat cichetti any time of day, but it is more fun when there are plenty of Venetians around. Don't be shy - let your hunger and your sense of adventure guide you.
The ombra (small glass of wine - the word means "shadow") is the beverage usually drunk with cichetti. These small glasses of wine are very small and very cheap, and sometime rough. If you'd like something a bit better, by all means ask for it. It won't lower you in the eyes of the locals, and for just a bit more you'll get a nicer glass and a better wine.
Suggested Cichetti Bars
Here are some suggestions for cichetti bars, but if you happen to pass by a bar full of people eating and drinking, check it out!
Cantina do Mori
Calle dei Do Mori, San Polo
Vecchai San Giovanni 692, San Polo
Calle della Maddonetta 1457, San Polo
Calle della Bissa 5482, San Marco
Ai Promessi Sposi
Calle dell'Oca 4367, Cannaregio
Osteria da Alberto
Calle Giacinto Gallina 5401, Cannaregio
Discover the real Venice: the Venice of cichetti and vino.
Slow Travel Italy - Food/Restaurants - Shannon's Venice Restaurant List: Favorite restaurants in Venice, Shannon Essa
Slow Travel Italy - Trip Planning - Venice Sestieri: The neighborhoods and where to stay, Shannon Essa
© Shannon Essa, 2004
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