Roses and Spices:
A Garden in Venice on Your Plate
This book is for cooks and adventurers and for anyone who really loves Venice. We will share forgotten stories of Levantine gardens and their fragrant, exotic herbs and blossoms. Family recipes and a few of those 800+ year-old recipes that made Venice famous all over Europe. Ancient Venetian dishes are nourishing and delicious at the same time, teaching us a lot about eating healthy by wisely choosing ingredients.
Grandmother Lina has been a cooking instructor for all of her life. She celebrated her 95th birthday in December 2017, and in October 2018, we will share her carefully collected recipes for healthy food, based on local ingredients and enhanced with exotic spices, just like the Venetians did in the past. Learn how to cook delicious food and how herbs and spices were used in Venice and the Veneto for more than 1600 years, to create delicious & easy recipes for food, aromatherapy, perfumes and natural remedies.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Lina taught the chefs of Venetian luxury hotels how to cook historical recipes. In her own restaurants in Venice, located five minutes from Piazza San Marco, Lina cooked for politicians and ambassadors. Two future popes, John XXIII and John Paul I, were regular guests for more than 30 years while they were Patriarchs in Venice.
Growing up on the fringes of the northern Lagoon facing the islands of Sant’Erasmo and Le Vignole, she lived on her family’s estate before returning home to Venice after the end of the war on 25 April 1945 (Saint Mark’s Day). Lina inherited the library of a Venetian monastery in 1968, located in the former guesthouse of San Zaccaria, and transformed the building into a small family-led hotel. At the same time, she created a verdant courtyard and blossoming terraced gardenscape, reminiscent of ancient Venetian herb gardens. Lina has close friends in Venice with whom she still exchanges plants and recipes, in particular, the monks on the Armenian Lagoon island San Lazzaro degli Armeni and at San Francesco della Vigna.
In Venice, the old world has survived like in no other place on Earth. Our book is an invitation to you to benefit from the ancient, forgotten know-how of the Republic of Venice, because we need that knowledge in our times. You will learn about secret gardens whose purpose was to experiment with exotic edible plants for centuries. Now, they are closed to the public and never mentioned in guidebooks. These gardens were dedicated to growing the ingredients Venetians used to prepare healthy food, natural beauty products, perfumes and remedies. You can find most of them in the Venetian sestiere (district) Castello, which is our neighborhood.
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