In Venice with Valeria Necchio, author of ‘Veneto’

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“This is a food memory for me,” Valeria said, as we podded fresh, marbled-pink, borlotti beans, “Not exactly cooking but they were one of the first activities I was involved in as a young girl helping in the kitchen during the summer months: I was on podding duty.”

If you are a long time reader of this blog, then Valeria needs no introduction — we became friends, first via our blogs, years ago when we began writing monthly themed posts together for Italian Table Talk, and then not long after, in person. I have always admired Valeria’s writing, her knowledge and appreciation for food and traditions, and her careful, beautiful photography. I have found her to be a kindred spirit, from the beginning all the way through writing our first cookbooks together, and since she is also a world traveller, living in London, Sydney and now back in Italy, it has been a while since we have been in the same country together.

We sat around the table with a kilo of these mottled beans that we had picked up at the Rialto market, admiring their designs as if they were little works of art and often stopping — as food bloggers do — to photograph them in a pretty dish handmade by Zaira, who was topping the green beans. They were to be cooked for dinner — the borlotti beans for a salad with huge, blushing ox heart tomatoes and red onion, and the green beans tossed with garlic, both recipes from Veneto.


It was one of the reasons we were here, to see Venice through Valeria’s eyes, to cook together from her new cookbook, Veneto, an ode to her homeland, and to clink many glasses of prosecco together.

Veneto celebrates an unsung part of Italy’s vast food culture with a peek into generations-old family recipes and the right combination of old favourites and new flavours, all documented beautifully in (Valeria’s own) photographs and words that take you right beside the writer to the Venetian countryside.


We were lucky enough to actually have the writer with us, right there, in Venice.

We wandered the calle of Venice for hours, to the sound of water lapping at the edges of the canals, and visited the markets as well as some bookshops and beloved cichetti bars to eat morsels of baccalà mantecato, boiled eggs with anchovies and sarde in saor (many which I have already written about here, here and here) — and then we collapsed on our couch in our apartment in Campo Santa Margherita and devoured Valeria’s Zaeti (my favourite Venetian biscuits, made with polenta flour and raisins) with strong coffee.

Valeria also introduced us to a favourite restaurant of hers, Anice Stellato, in a gloriously quiet corner of Cannareggio, where we sat by the water and had a wonderful modern Venetian meal of seared scallops with candied lemon and spaghetti alla busara with scampi washed down with a carafe of cloudy prosecco — one of the highlights of our Venetian escape.

What a pleasure and honour it was to be amongst this group of talented, creative Italian women, celebrating a book of new and old traditions of this region.

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Venice with Valeria Necchio for Veneto, her debut cookbook from Emiko Davies on Vimeo.


  1. Hi Emiko,
    Beautiful post and beautiful words full of affection and esteem.
    It was a pleasure for us to host Valeria, Irene, Valentina, Zaira and you in our apartment, your dishes looked so appetizing and we had fun following you through your social networking. We really hope to see you soon in one of our apartments in Padua, Verona, Venice, Treviso and Milan!!
    We wish you well

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