Friday, April 29, 2011

The Markets of Cannaregio


Rizzo Pane is a true brick and mortar market on Rio Tera San Leonardo and is much more than it appears from the front. I especially like it because it’s not part of a large chain. As you walk in there is a bakery to the left and a section devoted to wine on the right. Sounds like the start of a picnic. As you move towards the back you find all sorts of gourmet delights packed in jars including olives, olive oils, antipasti, tuna and anchovies wrapped around capers soaked in olive oil, but as you proceed through that area and beyond the candy section you find a very large delicatessen with a decent variety of local cheeses and cold cuts, as well as some imported from other areas of Italy.


Also on the Rio Tera San Leonardo is the daily mercato where vendors sell their fresh produce. This makes it clear that Cannaregio is a vibrant neighborhood filled with thousands of residents and not just tourists passing through on their way to San Marco. This is the market where I first saw Fragolino grapes that are pressed for the Venetian wine of the same name. Fragolino in Italian means strawberry and these dark dessert grapes do indeed taste like strawberries.

The produce was beautifully manicured and displayed. Those are artichoke hearts in the bottom right photo. The vendors keep themselves busy by cleaning the artichokes and selling only the hearts. That seems like such a waste, since the leaves are so good on their own and stems can also be eaten, but having them pre-cleaned does have its appeal.

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