Ken had some work he had to get to so after we had our coffee downstairs, I went to the Rialto and he came back up to work.
Walking down the stairs, sown our little street I am filled with contentment. I am supposed to be here, now. This is exactly the right thing for me to be doing in exactly the right place. It’s all I can do to hold in my grin and make it into a simple pleasant smile. The day, in Venice, awaits.
I walked down to the Rialto Market partly just to hang and maybe take a few photos and partly to locate the store called Mascari. I’ve been told it is the best place here to get dried porcini for a friend. I also bought a tiny tube of white truffle crema. Too many euros, I know, but one day we will enjoy it at home with little pasta and a bottle of nice wine.
I took some photos, none of which thrill me but together they do give you a feel for the market on a quiet Monday. On Monday. only the vegetable stalls are open—no fish.
These people had a whole production team to take their wedding photos among the fruit:
these guys were mean to everyone:
my favorite pair–color coordinated:
Ken loves salami tartufo, so I stopped into the Casa della Parmigiana and asked if they sold it. Yes—they have some from Piemonte which I got and also some sliced local salami. I asked what chees should with put on the sandwich and he showed me a very soft, white rectangle. I took a small piece. I headed for the bakery right around our corner to go home for lunch but I had to pass right by FiaschetteriaToscana, the very well known restaurant where Marcella Hazan had told me to go and meet her friend Mariuccia. I poked my head into the restaurant and the whole famile was there eating lunch. I met Mariuccia, very quickly; she was sitting at the table with an adorable baby girl in her lap. After making a dinner reservation, I left because I didn’t want to disturb their lunch.
I got home just in time for Ken to be done with his work and we ate the salami with the cheese which tasted just like cream cheese and some lettuce and great “pane crocante” crunchy bread.
Then we went to find the Santa Maria Novella store here—I wanted just to go to it and to buy some hand cream. We took the vap from Ca d’oro and had to pass the gelato place. I had the best one of the trip! Limone and blood orange—tart and refreshing—perfection on a warm afternoon. We got off the vaporetto at Accademia, walked through Campo Santo Stefano and into the church there. Saw the beautiful Tintoretto ‘Last Supper” and many other works. There was also a little sculpture garde connected to the church. Amazing to think that most of the pieces were made before Colombus discovered America!
Success at the Santa Maria Novella store. Got hand cream and some lip balm for Kathryn. We walked home from there wandering through the western part of San Marco before we hit the crowds.
Fiaschetteria Toscana:
Dinner was a totally unexpected joy. We had a very nice table in the corner, downstairs. Our wiater Roberto, also a long time friend of the Hazans was very attentive and funny. He called me Signora Gianna the whole night which so reminded me of the South—the equivalent of “Miss Jan”. We started with some tiny shrimp over soft white polenta—all good but the superb olive oil really made the dish special. Ken had artichoke bottoms which we both thought would be cold but they were warm with a sauce and kind of boring.
Next we shared the fish soup. It was devine. The broth was so rich and full of gentle sea flavors. There were mussels, shrimp and small chunks of fish in it along with a few strands of carrot and celery. It was interesting to taste each different kind of fish—all delicious and distinct. We passed on the pasta course for fear of being too full. We both had (at Roberto’s suggestion) the turbot with artichokes. I didn’t realize this would be a saucy dish as I am partial to simple grilled fish. I enjoyed the perfectly cooked turbot—the burre blanc, not so much. Maruiccia suggested a lemon and wild strawberry dessert and it was fantastic. I had been seeing the little wild berries in the market but they always look a little wilted—that’s how they looked on top of this tart but they were so full of strawberry plus some unknown fullness on the tongue. Loved it. We drank a Pieropan Cavolino Soave which was perfect with the food.
The biggest treat was hanging out with Mariuccia.
In an instant I felt like we were old friends. She talked about her family, Italy, retirement and, of course, Marcella. I tried to get her son Stefano to say he would hook her up to email but it doesn’t look good. She gave me a gift of a Buon Ricordo plate and we walked home filled and fulfilled .


Dinner at Fiaschetteria Toscana — 3 Comments

  1. What a perfect day! Had it all – market shopping, Santa Maria Novella, Tintoretto, a fabulous meal, and conversation with a new Italian friend! What could be better??

  2. You won’t believe this but I am pretty sure I know Roberto (well not know as in good friends but as the waiter who waited on me when I ate at Fiaschetteria Toscana) unless there are two Robertos. A friend of mine here in Hawaii who goes to Venice now told me about him, so a couple of visits ago, I made a reservation there and requested to be seated at one of his tables. He was delightful! Glad you had a wonderful dinner there.