Arriving in Venice, Italy for one night before heading to Asolo for a week of discovery, my friend and I wanted a delicious meal. I put my trust in her to find a place as she is one of my favorite people to dine with and enjoy tasting menus. She reserved us a table at Bistrot de Venise, which is mentioned in the Michelin Guide. Arriving from the airport, there was a little time to prepare before we headed to the restaurant. Despite lacking sleep, we embarked on a Chef's Tasting Menu with wine pairing. We enjoyed unique wine pairings with the modern interpretation of historic Venetian cuisine and that is why Bistrot de Venise is the Please the Palate pick of the week.
Bistrot de Venise was founded in 1993 but since 1999, Executive Chef Stefano Novello has been exploring historical Venetian cuisine which includes recipes from Venetian chefs from the 14th to the 18th centuries.
And Sommelier Stephen Cipolato has a list of over 60 wines by the glass and more than 300 carefully selected Italian and French labels. There are the great classic wines of Italy as well as rare wines, such as Rebula, Rabosi, Verduzzo, and more.
The menu options include a la carte, a Historic and Classic tasting menu, and the Chef Experience Tasting Menu. The Chef Experience Tasting Menu is 7 courses with the option of adding a wine pairing, which is what we chose.
To start, we enjoyed a glass of Fongaro Bianca Brut Classic Method sparkling wine from the Lessini Mountains in the Veneto region. The wine had lovely brioche notes and fresh, chalky acidity.
And we enjoyed a selection of "cicchetti" (Venetian bar snacks) which included three small portions of dishes in the appetizer section of the menu. There were two historical dishes, a Prawn in “Saor”, which is a dish of sweet and sour prawns, onion, sweet spices, sultanas, and pine nut milk, and Marinated Sturgeon, marinated with yeast, soused celeriac and beetroot, buttermilk, and olive oil. The third plate was Jerusalem artichokes with toasted hazelnuts, oregano, and marjoram.
After the amuse-bouche, we were poured a glass of Ronchi di Ciallo 2017 Verduzzo di Cialla from the Friuli Colli Orientali Sottozoma Cialla.
This deep golden-colored wine was rich and textured and was paired with seared foie gras with a shrimp on top and a tart red berry jam. Foie gras is so rich and the wine was able to stand up to it while also cutting the richness with its acidity. The shrimp added a creamy texture and the tart jam also cut the richness of the dish.
The Giuseppe Cortese 2020 Barbaresco was our next wine. It is a young Barbaresco, yet so drinkable with smooth tannins.
The Barbaresco was paired with Rabbit and Black Truffle. The rabbit loin was thinly sliced and topped with black truffles, greens, and quince paste. The wine was both light enough and both enough to pair beautifully with the rabbit.
For the third course, we returned to white wine with the Castel Sallegg 2929 Leopoldin Pinot Blanc from Alto Adige.
This beautifully aromatic wine was enjoyed with Maccheroncini with "Canoce", glasswort, and marrow, which is “Maison” extruded buckwheat macaroni with sea cicadas and glasswort, creamed with long pepper marrow, and crunchy buckwheat. The sauce of the pasta was delicate, light, and savory and was lifted by the fresh acidity of the wine.
Moving back to red wine, for our fourth course, we enjoyed the Emilio Bulfon Cordenossa from Pordenone in Friuli Venezia Giulia, an IGT wine from the hills of the foothills of Western Friuli Province of Pordenone, FVG Region, Italy. Cordenossa is an indigenous variety that originates from the border region of Italy and Slovenia. The grape was first listed in the "Ampelografia del Friuli" in 1923. Then in the 1980s, it was rediscovered by winemaker Emilio Bulfon.
The wine with its red berry and floral aromas and smooth taste on the palate was paired with Orzotto with “Cotto & Crudo” shellfish.
Il Bruno dei Vespa Primitivo Salento was the next wine. Primitivo, a sibling to Zinfandel, is typically a big red wine. But this wine was elegant with red fruit and spice notes.
And it was paired with Carbonaro (Black Cod) which was marinated in “Japanese-Venetian” sauce and served with brassica napus (rutabaga), pak-choi, and beurre-blanc. The fruit acidity of the wine was in nice contrast with the beurre-blanc sauce.
We then enjoyed a palate cleanser of a rosemary sorbet.
The final wine for the night was the Ronchi di Cialla 2015 Picolit Cialla, Friuli Colli Orientali. Picolit is an Italian white-wine variety used in the production of sweet late-harvest and passito wines in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The wine had a rich bouquet of acacia flowers and honeyed fruit. It was sweet but not cloying and had a long finish.
The Picolit Cialla was enjoyed with a dessert called Maya the Bee which was panna cotta with honey, lemon curd, lavender honey gel, rice crumble, lemon and lavender ice cream, and a crunchy honey wafer
And of course, there were a few mignardese to end the meal.
Despite not getting any sleep on the flight to Italy, I am glad that I mustered the energy for dinner. The food, the wine pairings, and the service were exceptional. If heading to Venice, Italy, add Bistrot de Venise to your list and enjoy a taste of both historical and current Venice, along with interesting and unique wines.
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