While you could start your day like I do on weekends, with a cup of bergamot and calendula tea at Serra dei Giardini, there are many specialties you shouldn’t miss in the pastry stores! This is how Venice really TASTES. So let’s take a look where you could go and enjoy seasonal breakfast treats!
Tip #1: Pasticceria Didovich: Cappuccino, cornetto con marmellata di gelsi, pastina alle mandorle
Pasticceria Didovich is located on Campo Santa Marina. From early November, the most beautiful crysanthenum are all over town, and here, they seem love the yellow blossoms and their sharp scent. Inside, almond pastries are waiting for you, and delicious autumn cornetti (croissants) filled with mulberry jam.
The food changes almost over night here in Venice: From November, we’re only one step away from winter. The season of acqua alta – flooding season is back during full and new moon. Scirocco, a warm southerly wind pushes more water into the Lagoon which floods the city. This humid climate demands a different way of eating, more substance and sweetness but in the right proportion.
Tip #2: Pasticceria Rosa Salva (Mercerie): Cappuccino, spremuta d’arancia, le fave
Rosa Salva pastry store is always a favorite with Venetians, in the early morning and after 11 am when we love a second, more hearty breakfast. In November, we drink cappuccino and a glass of freshly pressed orange juice! Rosa Salva offers delicious freshly pressed orange juice all year long but now, the sweet oranges from Sicily and Campania have arrived at the Rialto market, so don’t skip this juice!
I love le fave, tiny bean-shaped sweets made from pinoli (pine nuts). They come in three flavors (vanilla, cocoa, alchermes liquor) and are the traditional sweets we eat now during the first ten days of November and in particular, on All Souls Day.
Tip #3: Pasticceria Ballarin (San Crisostomo): Cappuccino, marron glaces
It’s sweet chestnut time here in the Veneto, and we have a delicious and HEALTHY pastry, le mar(r)ón glacé(s) as we write in Venetian. There’s no other food working so hard to help you get rid of a cold as maroni (chestnuts) do: Just eat breakfast with cappuccino, ginger-lemon tea and a few maron glaces.
Tip #4: Serra dei Giardini: Cioccolata calda densa, zaleti, Earl Grey tea with calendula blossoms
A restoring thick chocolate drink, which substitutes a hearty breakfast. It tastes like liquid chocolate cake! Plus, drinking a refreshing + zesty Earl Grey tea with yellow blossoms (calendula) and being surrounded by heaps of garden magazines: Gardenia has always been my favorite choice! Zaleti are the yellow maize-lemon cookies which go back to the year 1100! They were used on board the Venetian merchant fleet.
As you can see, breakfast in autumn / winter is sweet, much more than in summer. There’s a good reason for this: In Venice, we haven’t forgotten the tradition of using warming or cooling seasonal ingredients, essential to keep healthy + fit!
The ingredients that go into these home-made sweets are all organic and freshly harvested now in autumn, such as almonds, pistachios, pine nuts and chestnuts. Eating a sweet breakfast of little healthy cakes will help you cope with the cold, for by November, you will feel the cold “creeping into your shoes”. Healthy cakes can do a lot, making you walk around Venice for an extra hour :-)
Some of these sweets never left the domestic kitchens, which means that you cannot taste them in cafes or bakeries. One example is pomegranate cake. The pomegranate trees here in Venice originally come from Syria, and it was the Armenian community, living in the city since 1173, who taught the Venetians to use pomegranates in the kitchen.
Currently, you don’t get so many sweets using freshly pressed pomegranate juice while Lina recalls that in the 1950s, bakeries in Venice were overflowing with pomegranate cakes in November. If you are curious – we’re sharing these traditional recipes in our online autumn cooking class here.
Autumn IS delicious here in Venice! If you are interested in learing more about this season from our Venetian authors, would like to prepare for your trip, or simply enjoy Venice and delicious + healthy recipes, take a look at our new online experience – AUTUMN IN VENICE!