Why is it that when the times are difficult, monotonous, or uncomfortable, the day seems to progress like a snail covered in molasses in January… in Alaska? Yet, when the tides turn and you’re riding that gorgeous wave of fun, sun, and smiles, time seems to blast by, passing lightning bolts as though they were standing around waiting for a bus. I dunno either.
That’s the way it has felt these last few weeks. Recharged, optimistic, and energized, Maya and I hit the streets of beautiful Venice with purpose, exploring, networking, researching, and especially tasting. We have spent nearly everyday walking our route, getting to know our vendors and their own stories better. So much so in fact, that we are noticing many of our business relationships are developing into friendships as well. This is something that’s admittedly still somewhat foreign to me, having come from Los Angeles. LA is a city so big, that anonymity and efficiency are the common denominators for keeping the daily grind on track.
In Venice, however, it’s very much the opposite. Here, anonymity is what is foreign, and in fact sometimes, considered rude. It is a proud city, where generosity and kindness are abundant, and conversing on a first name basis is the norm. We find it impossible to walk more than 100 meters out our door without hearing “Ciao!” accompanied by a friendly wave, bidding us a pleasant day. So as we meander through the streets and squares, crossing over the endless labyrinth of canals of this magical place, we find hidden treasures and discover more of Venice’s history all along the way. During our expeditions, we also strive to each sample a new dish in a new restaurant at least once or twice a week, becoming pleasantly surprised more often than not.
Oh, the food! The first two weeks in February is the time of Carnevale, a time when masquerade, indulgence, imagination, and decadence all join forces to create culinary and entertainment experiences that solidify permanent, warm fuzzy-inducing memories. In honor of Carnevale, there are sweet delicacies that are produced only during this time. The two most popular are frittelle and galani. The first is like a donut without the hole, and filled with sweet cream, a type of custard, or nothing at all. Traditionally, they all contain raisins, which turn into a taffy-like consistency after baking, then dusted with either powdered sugar or granulated, depending on the type. As heavy and filling as they are, it is still very difficult to eat just one. The second, galani, is a crispy, flaky, thin pastry. A box of this light, crunchy, treat, also liberally doused with sugar, once opened, never seems to last very long.
We opened for business March 1st, and have already given our first tour. We considered it a great success, and judging from the reactions of the couple that took the tour, so did they.
Until next time,