Saturday, 29 April 2006

In the Guardian

A bit of a thrill. I occasionally put posts on the Guardian's 'I've been there' blogs. They're a wonderful resource - tips from people who have visited tourist destinations. One of mine actually made the printed page a couple of weeks ago.

So I'm going to recommend the same place here - the pasticceria Puppa, in Venice. Take the route up towards the Gesuiti and Fondamente Nove and you'll find it in Calle del Spezier. The window display is what first drew me - a fantastic, calorie-laden phantasmagoria. Chestnuts dipped in chocolate. Chocolate cakes. Cakes covered in chocolate. Cakes with chocolate chips. You're getting a pattern, I hope....

The inside is just as good. I got talking to the owner and pastry chef, Mr Puppa. He's a happy man, it's obvious when he comes into the shop with his broad smile and little white hat. He's proud of the traditional recipes he uses - and they taste very good. Castagnaccio, soft doughy cake made with chestnut flour, and budino, made with rice and egg custard, are two favourites. Then there are big cookie-like cakes with chocolate and nuts, as well as the confectionery.

I'd got rather used to Venice being expensive, but this shop has reasonable prices too. I made it a pretty regular stop the week I was in Venice.

The other good pastry shop I found was just off Campo Santo Stefano. There's a half way decent ice cream place there too, but to be honest, Venice just doesn't do ice cream that well. No, if I want gelato, I'm going to go to Rome or Siena where they really know how to mix it.

For you greedy people who want to know - Rome's best ice cream is in the shop on the Isola Tiburina, near San Bartolomeo, and Siena's is just off the Campo. Marron glace gelato anyone? Honey and almond?

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