Venice’s shops, bars and bakeries are currently piled high with tempting treats in readiness for this weekend’s Easter celebrations. Here’s where to find some of the most indulgent chocolates, cakes, pastries and gelato in town:
Chocolate – VirzioVirtù, Calle Forneri, Castello 5988: Satisfy your post-Lent cocoa cravings at VizioVirtù – a sleek artisan chocolate shop run by celebrated confectioner Mariangela Penzo. Watch the master chocolatiers at work in the open kitchen, and then take your pick from the endless array of chocolate eggs, brittles, fondants and pralines lined up behind the counter. The selection of flavours is infinite, ranging from traditional favourites such as champagne truffles to more unusual options including tobacco, cardamom and other exotic flavours inspired by Venice’s historic links with the Spice Route.
Breads & Pastries – Dal Nono Colussi, Calle Lunga S. Barnaba, Dorsoduro 2867A. Franco “Nono” Colussi first opened his little bakery in 1956, and over 60 years later, he’s still renowned as one of the best pastry chefs in town. Try his signature fugassa – a light, sugar-crusted brioche – or one of the cream-filled krapfen made daily in the oven at the back of the shop. At Easter, the traditional “colomba” is also highly popular; a lightly leavened bread shaped in the form of a dove.Moving with the times, the bakery also offers more modern creations such as lactose-free olive-oil cookies and gluten-free chocolate cakes.
Cakes & Biscuits – Rizzardini, Campielo dei Meloni, San Polo 1415: This eye-catching pasticceria was founded over 200 years ago in 1742 – hence the beautiful period interiors. Run by charming owner Paolo Garlato, Rizzardini specializes in traditional Venetian cakes and biscuits such as cantucci Veneziani (twice-baked almond biscuits) and esse Buranei (S shaped cookies typically made on the island of Burano). During Carnival, their fritelle (fried doughnuts) attract long queues, but at this time of year, we recommend their torta di ricotta (ricotta cake) and baci in gondola (chocolate-filled meringues).
Gelato – Gelati Nico, Dorsoduro 922: There are many excellent gelaterie all over Venice, but Nico is arguably still the best. Established in 1935, this old-fashioned ice cream parlour offers more than 20 flavours including classics such as pistachio and stracciatella, as well as more unusual alternatives such as crocante with rum and their celebrated “gianduiotto” – a smooth combination of chocolate and hazelnut. With a beautiful terrace on the Zattere, it’s a wonderful spot to watch a Spring sunset over the Giudecca canal with a late-afternoon gelato in hand.