Venice Pt I

Just got back from Venice, on another cooking school recce for a travel piece I am writing. A couple of other people were there too. Guy in the sunglasses looks a mite disgruntled ('Wait 'til I talk to my travel agent about this, why I oughtta…).


Luckily they weren't all on the terrace at the Bauer.


We all associate Venice with gondolas, of course, but I enjoyed seeing the more prosaic forms of water transport too. Here's the Crispy Pancake Express.


Luckily, the crowds dispersed the next day, so I had the Doge's gaff pretty much all to myself.


Venice is the only place where I have ever seen pre-prepared fresh artichokes for sale in the markets – apparently it's a speciality of the traders here. And speaking as someone who has spent many a turgid hour paring these prickly suckers, this is very much to be encouraged.


One for the 'found faces' gallery.


Squid ink spaghetti. The ink, if it's fresh, adds more than just a malevolent colour to the dish, it also brings a fabulous, briny seafood flavour.


Proof that, though floods are far more frequent in Venice these days (currently 50 a year, as I understand it), the place has always been a tad waterlogged – these are platform shoes, designed for wading through the tide.


I was in Venice to attend a cooking class with the irrepressible Enrica Rocca who teaches Venetian cooking in London and at her palazzo in Venice. She invited me to a soirée (I don't think I've ever actually been to one of those before) at a friend's rooftop pad in quite possibly the most exquisite palazzo in all the city (which is saying something).


And here's the lady herself, up on the roof. More about what we actually cooked in a bit.


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