Last year, I visited the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s major art fairs. The theme was titled “May You Live In Interesting Times.” That became my motto for dining as I journeyed from Venice to Rome with stops in Verona and Ferrara.
Perhaps, most interesting is a bacaro, the Venetian version of a tapas bar where you drop in throughout the day for a glass of wine and cicchetti (chi-KET-tee)—small plates of seafood, bruschetta, crostini, focaccia, cheese, prosciutto, salami and just about anything else that can be consumed in a bite or two.
While walking from the Biennale’s location to my hotel, Ai Reali, I discovered Cibo, a pocket-size alimentari with two standing-only tables made from wine boxes. Like a hound sniffing for truffles, I stood in the center of this culinary jewel box inhaling the cheese scents and the salami aromas. In the corner, on wall racks, I saw bottles from northern Italy’s top wineries: Pieropan Soave, Livio Felluga Terre Alte, Jermann Sauvignon, Tedeschi Amarone, Zyme Harlequin, along with Tuscany’s Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Tignanello, and gems from southern Italy.