Monday, April 20, 2009

Post-Birthday/Bellini Blues

Well, I made it back from Venice in one piece and I have to say, it was delicious! Of course it was great to see the museums, the basillica, the glass blowers, the gondolas, the carnival masks and the rest of a beautiful city but to be honest, Venice has been on my list of places to go for years now, if only for a Bellini.

The Bellini was created at Harry's Bar and is the signature cocktail at a bar which hosted Hemmingway for months. I first heard of the existence of this cocktail in Brett Easton Ellis' novel American Psycho as the narrator seems to be plagued by restauranteurs trying to gain his favour by giving him & his party free Bellinis, while all he wants is Finlandia vodka. A controversial novel which I am not recommeding; I am simply stating, this is the first time I had heard of the cocktail and it has intruiged me ever since.

In Hemmingway's favourite watering-hole, I sat down to lunch & was asked if I wanted the house-cocktail. I had been waiting decades for this pleasure. I wasn't even phased by the ridiculous price tag. Aware of the subtle signs indicating that taking photos inside the bar are prohibited, I snuck a pic of my Bellini. I did not take pictures of the carpaccio, the marinated raw beef specialty also created at Harry's. The cocktail was good but what was more fun was watching the bartenders pour them out. Everyone drinks Bellinis there! What really surprised me was the colour - the local peaches are a different colour than I am used to. Where I am from, peaches are, well, peach! A slightly orange hue, certainly not the pink that was on my table.

Of course, not all gastronomic delights have to be as pricy as Harry's. The Rialto market has a wonderful fish market. The market was fascinating because of the logistics. Everything is brought in by boat, and this fascinated me. The wares were also noteworthy and appetizing! They have calamari, complete with their own ink sack used for colouring pasta (I tried black pasta with a tomato crab sauce - phenomenal!), and they also have Moeche, a tiny crab, which I saw for the first time. The next day I tried them, battered and fried and as succulent as any Atlantic-coast crab shack can ever be. But with a Pinot Grigio instead of beer.

So here I am, back in Germany, and although I just played tourguide here, the lack of seafood reminds me that I am no longer on the Adriatic. That's fine, though. I can console myself with the alpine cheese I just bought in the Bavarian Alps, or, when the weather allows, I will sit on the balcony & share the 1,5 L bottle of Bellini I brought home with me.


Cathy said...

Harry's Bar has long been on my list of places to go! Bellinis have been a favourite for years and I suspect they may just be a tad better there....if only for the fact that I'd be in Italy to enjoy it.

taste traveller said...

I wasn't ever a big fan of the Bellini, although sometime I have these literary tribute moments while out drinking, and Bellinis definately belong to this group. But yes, they are better there, not only because you're in Italy, but the service, the tiny art deco bar - it's all perfect. I'll miss the bar. My wallet, on the other hand, won't.

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