Private Food & Wine Tour in Venice
Your food and wine experience with a Venetian licensed tour guide
Three-hour private tour | starting from 100 € per person
A walking tour around the places frequented by Venetians, far from the tourist crowds. Learn the history, traditions and curious facts about Venetian food and wine. Visit the best shops where to buy local produce.
Private food and wine tour in Venice with a local. This private tour, three hours in length, is focused on Venetian food and wine. Stroll around the most authentic areas of Venice, far from the tourist crowds, visiting the shops and areas frequented by Venetians. Your guide, who was born and raised in Venice, will let you in on how Venetians go about their daily lives and tell you about their traditions, as well as some interesting facts about the city. Food and wine are the key to understanding Venice, a cosmopolitan trading city that developed a culinary tradition that is the envy of the world. Choose an itinerary and enjoy the streets and squares of Venice in good company.
Your local friend in Venice
The best way to get to know a city is to spend some time with a local. A walk, a chat and a glass of wine, enjoying the hospitality of people with a long history of welcoming out-of-towners. Guidebooks are good, but someone who lives in the city and can advise you about what to do and where to go is better! My tours are for two people or a family group, which makes for a friendly, convivial experience.
What are the best things to eat in Venice ?
My Food & Wine tour in Venice is a chance to find this out and to experience Venice like a Venetian. I know the best places to eat out and the best shops for high-quality goods. Venice is a small town, although there are plenty of activities you can do here, you need to choose carefully. Venetians avoid anything that’s touristy, and tend to keep away from the Saint Mark’s area. Luckily, there are still places in Venice that are peaceful and well worth discovering. For example, the ice-cream parlours on the Zattere and Punta della Salute, the old Jewish quarter and the wine bars in Cannaregio area, the fish market at the Rialto, the bars with terraces that give sweeping views of the Grand Canal, the café tables set out in the sun in Campo Santa Margherita, the little shops selling cheese and spices at the Rialto. In Venice, the only city in the world with no cars, everything moves at a slower pace. The food market tour is a great way to experience this aspect of Venetian life. So is the bacaro tour.
What is a bacaro tour?
A bacaro is a typical Venetian bar, or tavern, where you’ll find warm, ready-to-eat food, as well as good wine. There won’t be a great variety, but everything is typically Venetian. You can have a snack and a drink at the bar or take a seat at a table. The service is quick and there are no frills (no tablecloths and the décor is plain). Usually Venetians go to a bacaro for a glass of wine and a cicchetto. A cicchetto is a quick bite – usually finger food – you can eat on your feet. It can be half a boiled egg with an anchovy, a small slice of crusty bread with cheese or baccalà (salted cod cooked milk), a polpetta (fried meatball), or a baked cuttlefish. If you like, a bacaro tour, is a Venetian pub-crawl: you go from bacaro to bacaro, each time trying a different wine and a different cicchetto. This is something Venetians do with their friends, usually on a Friday or Saturday night.
The most well known types of food and wine in Venice
For centuries, Venice was a city of trade, whose merchant ships stopped in ports in the whole of the Mediterranean. This means that, since the Middle Ages, it has been possible to find foodstuffs of every kind: blue fish from the Adriatic, oil from Greece, wine from Sicily, spices from the Orient, salt from Southern Italy, meat from Croatia, cheese from the Alps, and rice from Northern Italy. Nowadays, as there is no longer a problem with conserving and transporting food all over the world, Venetian cuisine distinguishes itself not so much for the range of food as for the simplicity of its dishes, which create a lot of flavour with just a few ingredients. For example, liver with onions and polenta, sausage and red chicory risotto, spaghetti with scallops and mussels, gnocchi with pesto and shrimp, baccalà and cuttlefish cooked in their ink.
The region’s most typical wine is prosecco, a sparkling white that goes well with fish. Another typical Venetian drink is the spritz: an aperitivo of prosecco, soda water and Aperol or Campari. And the perfect accompaniment to an aperitivo are cicchetti, small slices of crusty bread topped with cheese, ham, salami or cooked vegetables dressed in olive oil. Venice is also known for its sandwiches – tramezzini – packed with egg, ham, mushrooms, spinach, mozzarella, tomato, oregano and mayonnaise or an almost infinite combination of other ingredients.
The less well known types of food and wine in Venice
Have you ever heard the words polpetta, mozzarella in carrozza, gianduiotto da passeggio, fugassa? Venetians can spend entire evenings in wine bars (nightclubs are rare in Venice) consuming prosecco and polpette (slightly squashed pan-fried spheres of meat and potatoes, or vegetables and potatoes). Polpette are irresistible! A mozzarella in carrozzza is another treat: a mozzarella with anchovies between slices of white bread and deep-fried. The experience is impossible to describe. You can only find them in the best bacari (the typical Venetian bars where you can have a cicchetto standing at the bar).
If you love ice cream, you must try the gianduiotto da passeggio from Nico on the Zattere. This is a block of chocolate–hazelnut ice cream smothered in fluffy whipped cream that you eat from a paper cup while promenading along the Giudecca Canal. Or you may like the fugassa (Venetian focaccia). Unlike other areas of Italy, in Venice the focaccia is sweet and made with eggs, flour and butter and topped with almonds. How do you find these delicacies? On my food tour, of course!
The Rialto Market
The Rialto market is the heart of Venice. Open in the mornings from Tuesday to Saturday, it is the place where Venetians love to do their food shopping. The market is an explosion of colours and voices. The best fish is sold here, along with vegetables from the Island of Sant’Erasmo, seasonal fruit and several small, family-run shops selling meat, cheese and cakes. The market sells fish from the Adriatic such as sardines and mackerel, but also cuttlefish and crabs from the Venetian lagoon. The mussels and clams are renowned for their quality and sold throughout Italy. There’s also a large range of fish from the Mediterranean such as red tuna and shrimp. When their shopping is done, Venetians meet up for an aperitivo.
My favourite food shops in Venice.
I only buy local products, preferring small shops to supermarkets, so I know the best places to shop for food. I also know the best restaurants (not necessarily the ones in tourist guidebooks) and enjoy eating out with friends. I know the owners of the bars where I go for a good glass of wine. If you need advice about what food or wine to buy, and where to buy it, feel free to ask me. To give you a few examples: Alaska, the best ice-cream shop in Venice; Mascari, the ideal place to buy Venetian cakes and biscuits, spices, sweets and chocolates; Rosa Salva, one of the best pastry shops in Venice; Trattoria Gislon, the place for bar food (cichetti); Ristorante Antico Pizzo, a restaurant serving typical Venetian fish; Bar Sbarlefo, a barcaro serving good wine and cicchetti; Aliani, a shop selling the best cheese in town.
ABOUT ME: I was born in Venice and have lived here all my life. I am from a large family that taught me the pleasure of sitting around a table and sharing a meal with friends or relatives. I first learned to cook by helping my mother and my grandmother in the kitchen (I still use their recipes today), but I am now a professional chef and a student of the Italian Sommelier School. Please, read more here about Gioia Tiozzo. I hope this page has given you an idea of my Food Tour in Venice.
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