Venetian Carnival: Feast for the eyes and the palate
The Carnival of Venice or as Italian’s know it “Carnevale di Venezia” is an annual celebration. A colorful and joyful party, world-famous for its festive and colorful masks, masquerade balls and elaborate feasts featuring traditional food and wines of Veneto region.
The Carnival dates back to 1162 with a victory of the “Serenissima Repubblica” against the Ulrico di Treven, with the spontaneous dance party that erupted in San Marco Square, the heart of Venice. The Festival continued on during the Renaissance and the baroque era when it saved the prestigious image of Venice in the world. Its popularity grew further during the eighteenth century surrounded by mystery, intrigue, and pleasure. Today, the city is visited by over three million visitors during Carnival days.
Hearty, soul-warming and comforting, served with a thick, gooey cheese-crust, lasagna is the quintessential comfort food. They come in a great variety of styles. The can be made vegetarian with roasted tomatoes and peppers, spinach, chard, pumpkin and butternut squash or as a meat version filled with Italian sausage.
There is an array of traditional sweet treats, the most famous is probably honey-colored frappe, a deep-fried, light-as-air pastry, served sprinkled with icing sugar.
Castagnole is another traditional Carnival sweet treat shaped in little balls and served with icing sugar, often filled with chocolate. Small fried pancakes called frittelle are even softer little gems, dangerously addictive and can be served plain or filled with cream custard, Nutella or chocolate.
And for an ultimate Venetian treat try Italian hot chocolate or “cioccolata calda”. Seductive and luxurious, it’s served very thick, almost pudding-like, easily eaten with a spoon!
While enjoying fabulous Venetian food do not forget fantastic and world renown wines of Veneto. With the climate influenced by the Alps, Adriatic and Lake Garda, the region produces most wines in Italy. From dry and crisp Northern Italian sparklers, white Soave vinified with Garganega grapes, light and fruity red Valpolicella, to full-bodied and intense Amarone. Here are my few favorite pick for lasagna, for both white and red wine lovers:
Ferrari Perlé 2007
Vinifies with a 100% chardonnay grapes hand-harvested from Lunelli family’s own high altitude alpine vineyards, this fantastic, dry and crisp sparkler displays perfect harmony of freshness and elegance. In addition to typical fruity notes of apples and white peaches, it brings warming aromas and flavours of brioche and almond pastry due to its prolonged lees contact. Fine and persistent bubbles, a perfect companion to pasta al carbonara.
A lovely sparkling rosé, typical of Ferrari style. Vinified in a Classic Method with 60% pinot nero and 40 % chardonnay grapes hand-harvested in the high altitude Trentino mountain vineyards. Dry, fresh and elegant it brings aromas and flavours of strawberries with subtle floral notes. Lees aging provided for attractive bread-crust notes and added layers of complexity. Persistent bubbles and a long, lingering finish. A perfect match to a sinfully creamy oven-baked Brie with warm berry topping.
Ferrari Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2002
The most awarded Italian Sparkling Wine crafted with chardonnay grapes exclusively comes with effortless elegance, unbeatable complexity, and unique aging ability. Bursting with tropical aromas and flavours of ripe pineapple, creamy honey, a whiff of white floral notes and great minerality. Lingering white chocolate notes and an incredible complexity due to a ten-year maturation period on its lees. Enjoy this fabulous and luxurious sparkling wine on its own to get the full benefit of its undeniable greatness.
This is an extraordinary wine with great complexity and elegance. Made in the Veneto region of Italy with Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Corvinone grapes. Carefully selected best bunches from the prestigious Monte Sain’Urbano vineyards are dried for four months losing about 40% of initial weight. This created a wine with great structure, deep red color and intense bouquet with spicy aromatic and jammy notes of ripe black cherry, tobacco, smoke, and leather. It has a rich palate and an impressive, soft and velvety finish. This is a truly special wine; curl by the fire, take a long sip and let all your worries melt away ………
Canella Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG
Made with 100% Prosecco grapes in the northern Italian region of Veneto, this fruity sparkler with persistent, lively bubbles is sure to please. It delivers lively aromas of peach, apple, pear, and citrus. Nicely balanced palate with crisp acidity and a hint of sweetness. Best served as a delicious and refreshing aperitif or accompanied by a bite (or two) of caviar for a special occasion.
Folonari Valpolicella, DOC 2012
Valpolicella comes from Italy’s northeast region of Veneto. Ruby red, light and fruity, it’s bursting with flavours of sweet cherries and a touch of spice. A blend of three indigenous grapes; Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, it delivers soft tannins and fresh acidity on the palate. Due to the substantial acidity, it is best enjoyed with food. Try is with the roasted duck or a gooye, cheesy meat lasagna in a true northern Italian fashion.