Venice is incredibly beautiful but it can be claustrophobic fighting your way through the hordes of tourists in the heat. For our final day in the floating city, we ventured out to the nearby islands of Murano, Burano, Torcello and Mazzorbo, all reachable in under an hour on a vaporetto boat. It was a heavenly respite – idyllic, quiet and quaint towns with humble offerings but beautiful sites to visit.
Mazzorbo is the lesser known but very picturesque island. Located next door to colourful Burano, you can walk from one to the other via the connecting bridge. Ideal for a calm stroll along the canal and a long lunch, it is the perfect day out. We visited Mazzorbo to dine at the island’s destination restaurant, Venissa. Wine and Prosecco maker Gianluca Bisol has resuscitated the rare vines and revived the wine production here. The menu focusses on local fare and home grown vegetables are shown great respect, they are given the starring role throughout the set courses.
Guests can dine indoors in the stylish restored rooms, or sit outside surrounded by the vineyards… if the weather permits I would recommend dining al fresco, I cannot think of a lovelier setting. The emphasis at Venissa is primarily on the wine made from their own grapes; with wine of this quality it is hardly surprising that it takes such a lead role in the dining experience. That said, the food excels in its own right, intricately and artistically arranged on the plates, and using the best seasonal ingredients available.
Different menus offer varying numbers of courses… we were completely in the care of the chef who brought out dish after dish, each paired perfectly with another glass of wine or Prosecco. Simple ingredients are adorned with seasoning and floral garnishes. Two lone spinach leaves from the garden arrive with a splattering of olive oil, black olives and a sprinkling of vine flowers. Next, pretty but spiky artichokes with beetroot puree was an invigorating dish. Eel cooked in Modera with green celery and wild chard was more unusual, delicately flavoured, lightly cooked fish.
Pasta courses followed, green ravioli filled with potato and thick linguine with marigold butter, these dishes were strange but amazingly vibrant in flavour, as if plucked straight from the wild. The meat was divine, of the highest quality with indulgent sauces: lamb with peas and onions, deer with cherries and berries. The top Bisol wines continued to arrive at the table, each one with its own fermentation technique and unique character and taste. Dessert was another palate cleansing delight; a citrus salad with orange and grapefruit granite.
It was the healthiest and one of the most memorable Michelin star meals I have ever eaten: immaculate presentation, the very best wine and a dreamlike setting that seems too good to be true.
Those wishing to stay a little longer at Venissa can book a room at their restored and converted manor house hotel, elegantly high ceilinged and beautifully decorated. Open from March to November.
More information and book here: www.venissa.it