Our most memorable trip to Venice occurred during winter flood season. Leaving our hotel near Piazza San Marco, the city was entirely navigable on foot. But after an evening strolling from bar to bar sampling aperitivi and cicchetti, we discovered over two feet of rain and seawater inundating San Marco. We attempted an alternate route, but ultimately, we removed our shoes and socks, rolled our pant legs up to our knees and waded back to the hotel through frigid water, laughing with each step.
In this city of churches and bridges, our favorite pastime is discovering neighborhood bars that serve small plates with a glass of Soave or Prosecco. Bring this custom home by mixing up a batch of Aperol Spritzes, opening refreshing white wines and snacking like the Venetians.
To an ice-filled wine glass add 3 ounces Prosecco and 2 ounces Aperol. Top with club soda, and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Bolla’s Tufaie, with flavors of peach and citrus zest; or the Suavia Soave Classico, with its green apple notes and soft minerality.
Preheat 4 inches of olive oil in a large pot to 350˚F. Dip 24 large green olives in 2 beaten eggs, and then roll in ¾ cup breadcrumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese. Fry olives in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Drain and rinse a 29-ounce can of garbanzo beans. In a large bowl, add garbanzos, ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, 6 chopped oil-cured anchovies, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Serve in small ramekins.
Toss ½ pound of calamari rings, 1 pound cleaned medium shrimp and 2 thinly sliced lemons in 2 cups of flour. Heat 4 inches of olive oil in a large pot to 350˚F. Shake off excess flour. Fry in two batches until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.