As the Chinese enjoy 下酒菜 (snacks-served-with-liquor) and the Spanish love their tapas, Venetians have cicchetti. I first learnt about cicchetti through one of Rick Steves‘ Venice travel guide videos and I immediately loved the concept. Small snacks served in traditional cicchetti bars or osterie. From what I have seen, cicchetti is pretty casual as one can easily turn up, stand or sit by the bar and have a plate of selected tiny pre-made sandwiches while chatting with the barman and enjoying a glass of wine, or beer.
Kent discovered and tried his first cicchetti at Osteria ae Forcoe during a laundry hunt or photography walk. Apparently, a wooden board outside this venue signing: ‘This is a typical Venetian bar with local food and drink’ grabbed his attention and lured him in. Kent liked it so much that he wanted to make it my first cicchetti experience too. So I went along with him to this petite, narrow yet characteristic food bar for lunch and it was at this local osteria, my cicchetti adventure began.
Sit At The Bar Where The Action Is
In this narrow yet deep establishment, there were two sections. One with dining tables down the rear or, seating at the bar near the entrance. Clearly, the bar area is where the action is… Who doesn’t like to sit where the food, the customers; the bartender and waitstaff are all gathered doing their thing! That’s the busyness I’m talking about, both from the street looking into the bar through the food window and those who are already indoor.
Saluti With Campari Spritz And Prosecco
It’s almost like an unspoken rule between Kent and myself that, during our Italy travel, Kent could enjoy a Campari Spritz whenever he wished, and myself? I would have a Prosecco, as much as I liked. There’s no exception here. And if you noticed the funky art wall in our backdrop, have a look at the next photo… yes one entire wall facing the bar was covered by funky chalk drawings (and wine list too)!
Three Small Serving Plates To Share
We skipped finger sandwiches and went for three plates of cooked meals to share. A chicken and spinach dish, prawns with onions; meatballs in tomato sauce, the later two served with a slice of polenta. The food was good, unpretentious and comforting. Our fellow diners, two Italian men who seemed to be Venetian locals were amused by our constant photograph taking, they even offered us their cicchetti to be photographed as well!
A Traveller’s Note
Whenever I think of my very first cicchetti experience at Osteria ae Forcoe, although it was good, it’s not the food I remember the most. It’s the relaxed ambience, welcoming experience and simply being at Osteria ae Forcoe itself I find most memorable. During our lunch we met an American travel vlogger who was staying in Venice for only two days. We couldn’t imagine how he could possibly pack all his to-do-list into such a short time! Call us old fashioned, but Kent and I felt very fortunate to discover La Serenissima at the slower pace we like.