My Venetian Vice

What happens in Venice stays in Venice especially during Carnevale. You might think I'm talking about the notorious pursuits of masqued Venetian party-goers during one of the world's greatest festivals but what I’m referring to is indulging my uncontrollable desire for Venetian pastries. Fritelle, zaletti, tiramisu and decadent tortas, overflowing cream puffs. Bags of colorful cloud-like Italian meringues spumiglias dominate the bakery windows framed by thin flaky sheets of pastry drenched in powdered sugar (galani ). A saint could not refuse the pastries of Venice.

You can find dolci anytime in Venice but the abundance and variety are especially noticeable during Carnevale. All meant to be part of the last bit of indulgences before the Lenten season starts and I cannot refuse.

The seemingly endless Venetian pastry shops (pasticcerria) that line the narrow streets and spill out into each campo from the Dorsoduro to San Polo tempt you with all manner of confectionary delights.

Who can resist pallone di casanova (Casanova’s Balls) or not be intrigued by lingue di suocera (“mother-in-law’s tongues”)? Or the classic pastries of Café Florian, for which you will pay dearly, with a romantic view of St. Mark’s Cathedral and canals of La Serenissima, that have enchanted visitors for generations.

Although Baci in Gondola (kisses in a gondola), speckled white meringues bound together by a stripe of dark chocolate are appealing, my favorite Venetian sweets are the Doge’s Cookies (Pan dei Doge).

Being partial to Doges in general (see my blog on Descended from the Doge) these cookies are amazingly good. I am enamored of the pistachio version and if that weren’t enough to tempt my sweet tooth there is the exotic and elegant Torta del Doge, a small buttery cake filled with raisins topped with pine nuts and flavored with rum and I haven’t even mentioned the zabaglione cream puffs.

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