Ice Soup, or, Venezia Gelata

Seagull on ice

The winter of 2012 has brought meters of snow and arctic temps throughout Italy and the rest of Europe;  weeks of sub-freezing temps here in Venice have turned the lagoon into a concoction resembling a frozen margherita without the tequila.

Seagull on ice

Water taxis banned from airport access due to motor-damaging ice (the larger Alilaguna are running, however); ice-breaking motoscafi working to keep channels open for the rest of the fleet; the opening Carnevale sfilata rowing parade was posponed a week due to icy temps and 20 to 30 mile-an-hour winds. This is the winter I experienced when I first moved here over seven years ago, the one I braced for in subsequent winters, but the one which has only just returned this year.

It’s a challenge, but Venice and Venetians take it as it comes, recounting prior winters just as cold and colder, decades and centuries past, engineering appropriate outerwear (furs, furs) to survive errands and market shopping, using the cold as an excuse for a hot chocolate (literally, mind you: hot, melted, chocolate), or an extra Carnevale fritelle or galani pastry (merita), one more ombra in compania as we make plans for when the cold snap ends.

On a more intimate scale, I spotted a pair of devoted mallards who make their home in a neighborhood canal. They’d apparently been out for a “stroll,” but were having difficulty avoiding the ice on their return to the rio dell’Orto. I hope they made it. Forza, coraggio…

Eating Venice: Tiny Yellow Tuna Fins

Whether yellow, blue or bigeye, raw or cooked, when the red flesh of tender tuna arrives at our table, these tiny, sturdy, perfectly positioned, radiant yellow fins that propelled this magnificent fish across ocean depths have long been discarded. But what an impression they make when still intact — and what would it be like to see them in use…

from the upcoming Eating Venice iPhone & iPad app — stay tuned!