The Luna Hotel Baglioni is the oldest hotel in Venice. It dates back to the 12th century and is situated just a short distance from the famous St Mark’s Square and the Doge's Palace. According to ancient records, it even hosted the Knights Templar in 1118.
Even before reaching the enchanting entrance shown above, I was really curious to finally be able to taste Chef Giampaolo Cosimo’s delicious dishes at the Canova Restaurant.
On my arrival I was handed a delicious Bellini, a typical Venetian cocktail made of Prosecco sparkling wine and the puréed pulp and juice of white peaches.
And the first little appetiser to get the ball rolling was delicious shrimp in pasta filata (stretched-curd cheese) with rosemary.
Next came prawn salad with porcini mushrooms along with grana padana cheese and fennel crackers. But what delighted me most about this dish were the prawns, which were truly outstanding for their freshness and authenticity.
Exquisitely light, they went very well with the crackers flavoured with grana padano, a traditional local cheese, and porcini mushrooms. All accompanied by a glass of Ribolla wine from the Jermann winery.
The chef delighted us yet again with spectacular small gondolas stuffed with ricotta and pumpkin, a splash of amaretto and a dolcelatte cream, this time with a red Valpolicella wine from Veronesi winery.
“Eà Fritoea” as they say in Venetian dialect, or fritella (fritter) in Italian, is the undisputed queen of Venetian desserts. It has always been regarded as the national dessert of the Republic of Venice and its recipe dates back to the second half of the 14th century. The recipe is the oldest document on Venetian gastronomy kept at the Biblioteca Casanatense Rome (Casanata Library) in Rome.
For this traditional Venetian dessert, Chef Cosimo uses a secret ingredient, handed down to him by his mentor, and which he in turn will only pass on to a special chef. No one in the kitchen knows the treasured recipe and I managed to gather very little about what makes this fritter so light and so delicious. This left little to say about the secret ingredients so, all we could do was … enjoy ourselves.
Thus came to an end my incredible dining experience at Restaurant Canova, one that I can certainly recommend for your next visit to Venice.
Stefania Matarrese is a freelance writer, traveller, dancer and citizen of the world with a passion for marketing and communication. See her favourite photos on Flickr.