Mercato del Pesce, Chioggia – Veneto
We recently spent a few days in Chioggia, which is an island in the Laguna Veneta, much like its neighbor Venice, with canals running through the city. We chose to stay in Chioggia partly because my husband’s step-father’s father was Chioggiano and because we liked the idea of seaside Veneto without all of the craziness and tourist mobs in Venice. Not to mention avoiding the high prices and mediocre food that is so easy to run into in Venice. We were a boat ride away, spent one day there and the rest of our trip we meandered around the Veneto, enjoying the food and the delicious white wine.
We had two meals in Chioggia and were blown away by the fresh fish and the delicious way that everything was prepared. The fish market in Chioggia was enormous and was the first thing that I wanted to see in the town, I know that they are famous for their fresh fish and they have one of the largest wholesale markets in Italy.
There were so many different types of fish, eels, cuttlefish, shellfish, every type of Mediterranean fish imaginable. We were lucky to have been able to try some of the local specialties and what was in season at that moment. Though they weren’t at their peak, I had the fried moleche, which are soft-shelled crabs. I had had them the first time we went to Venice where they dip them in egg and flour, but in Chioggia they only dust them with flour. One of the restauranteur’s stated that she had never tried them in the Venetian style, they seemed too heavy. That is the type of provincialism that keeps traditional cooking alive in Italy, from one town to another.
I started this blog as an exploration of the 20 “breads” of Italy, a metaphor for the 20 regions and the endless different types of cuisine that you can find within each region and in the case of Chioggia and Venezia, within the same province. Frying with an egg batter or a simple dusting of flour seems trivial, but Italians take these differences very seriously and they distinguish themselves by them. I love traveling in Italy and trying the local cuisine, especially when it is seafood based.
My daughter, who loves octopus, wouldn’t touch the octopus up there, she asked where the tentacles were and was freaked out by the texture, which was indeed different. They peel the skin off of the octopus in the north and don’t beat their fresh catch against something like they do down here, making it much less tender.
Delicious trip, I look forward to our next jaunt in the Veneto, hopefully for a few more days.