In March and April of 2011 I was fortunate enough to take a trip of a lifetime, five weeks in Italy. I had always wanted to travel the world and Italy was at the top of my list of places to see someday and it did not disappoint. Italy is literally like a dream, in particular Venice. Just the idea that you are pretty much walking around on a floating ancient city full of history, art, amazing food and wine is pretty unreal. Venice was one of the last cities we visited on our trek across the Northern half of the country and it was well worth the wait. It is even more beautiful then in the photos. The Piazzas are such great places to sit back and take it all in with a cup of espresso or a glass of the regional white wine. You could sit there for hours just looking at all the amazing architecture and people watching. We even spotted Judy Dench having drinks while enjoying the scene. We were there during the perfect time of year too, it was in the upper 60’s and sunny, perfect weather for walking over bridges, hopping from island to island on cobblestone paths. The first night there we ended up at a little tiny place for dinner that we just happen to stumble upon and it was unreal. We only ordered some chicken and some vegetable soup but it was tops. One of the things I was looking forward to most was getting to try some of the famous seafood risotto that Venice is known for. I’d seen it showcased on numerous food shows over the years and couldn’t wait to try it for myself.
On the second day we were walking all over the place and we ended up by the water on the Grand Canal and decided that we were hungry and I made a pretty big mistake, we ate on the water at a big tourist trap. I ordered the Seafood Risotto and it was awful, lesson learned, avoid the tourist trap and seek out the Mom and Pop places. But then a few days later we found this amazing little restaurant that was pretty much the backyard of a house and it was their speciality. I had never tried anything remotely close to it, it was unreal. I still haven’t had it again since, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet. I’m sure it had a lot to do with the fact that we were in Venice, outside on a gorgeous night and literally a stone’s throw from the Rialto Fish Market but it was one of the best things I had ever eaten. The next day we were shopping that the Rialto Fish Market and we ended up having lunch at this little cafe outside and on the water and I had to order the muscles, I really didn’t feel like I had much of a choice and it was the right one. We watched as someone from the fish market brought over the fresh seafood to the cafe to be prepared and in no time they were sitting right in front of me. So simple, so perfect, just wine, olive oil, butter, garlic and some fresh herbs, I was in total heaven. This was just one stop on a once in a lifetime trip and I think about it so often, what a treat. www.lifestylefood.com.au has a great Italian Muscles Recipe if you want to give it a go at home.