Sometimes the best experiences come in the smallest time frames.
And this trip with Ask Italian to Venice was absolutely one of the best experiences, even though we were only there for just over 30 hours. Small but mighty you might say. It was probably one of my most favourite press trips that I have ever been on – and I got to share it with such a great group from the ASK team – but also one of my favourite blogging gals ever – Sabrina from A Little Obsessed.
So I was invited to Venice to “eat like an Italian” with ASK Italian. For anyone who doesn’t already know – ASK Italian is a nationwide restaurant chain filled with the most divine Italian cuisine.
Now – if you have read my Instagram bio / seen anything I do on social media – you will know that I am a complete and utter pasta addict. I mean – I could eat it 4 times a day everyday and not get bored. It is my desert island / last meal food. It is my life. I am not joking. My mum refers to me as her ‘pasta baby’. I spent the first 12 years of life living off pasta and cheddar cheese.
And from my love of pasta (and pizza) was born my love of ALL Italian cuisine (I will eat everything Italian) and also my passionate love affair with Italy as a country.
Last summer I spent 6 weeks eating my way around Italy and it was the best time of my life. So to go back to my favourite city in Italy, Venice, was such a dream.
So let me show you a few snaps (40 snaps to be precise – its a long post – but worth it for the food porn) of our trip… Starting off with how happy I am to be arriving.
(All the images in this post are by Alexandria NAME. I have a seperate post coming with all my photos and more food porn so stay tuned for that – and ALSO the venice vlog) – and yes I did feel like celebrity being papped…)
We arrived early in the morning and hopped into a private taxi boat to our hotel (darlingggggg)! After a quick freshen up, it was straight out in search of some lunch and some Aparol Spritz. Is there anything better than going on a search for nibbles when you are in a foreign country? Every food stand looks inviting, every restaurant is new to you and needs testing out, and the smelllllllllls are SO DIVINE. The ASK team had set up a ‘walking/eating’ tour to show us the variety of food in Venice. I MEAN – THIS WAS MY PERFECT AFTERNOON ACTIVITY.
We started off at Al Mercà with a round of Aperol Spritz and truffle and proscuiooto paninis. I died a little bit as they were SO SO SO GOOD. I wanted like 10 of them, but didn’t think that would be the greatest first impression on the team.
“Hey guys – thanks for my sandwich – I’ll take the rest of the display”.
And yes – this blog post involves many photos of me smiling like an overjoyed lunatic! Because Italy. And food.
Next stop on the map was a little more adventurous. We went very tapassy. Italian tapas is called cicchetti (I think) and so we headed to a Cicchetti bar – which Venice is famous for having. So we ordered lots of little plates to try, including raw octopus. Legs and all. Down in one.
Next stop – gelato.
Gelato is Venice is almost as much as a must have as pizza in Naples. IT IS JUST SO GOOD.
I was pretty full by this point – but who can say no to a gelato that is prettier than I will ever be. 10/10 for the actual gelato – 0/10 for the sticky fingers that resulted from the dripping melting mess that went all over my hands when trying to take an instagram photo!
After the gelato – we had an eating pause, and headed to the Piazza San Marco – which is just breathtakingly beautiful. And full of pigeons.
However – these are famous pigeons. People actually pay real money to have someone take a photo of them holding bird feed so the pigeons come into their photo. True story.
I don’t know who these crazy people are- but they are out there. And good for them..
I was dull and went for a less bird infested photo.
Next up – as the clouds turned dark and the rain decided to come out to play – we headed to the world famous Hotel Danieli for cocktails on their incredible balcony looking over the canals. However – due to said rain, we sat inside for hot chocolates and lattes… and then moved onto cocktails in the bar upstairs.
Cant wait to share this vlog with you all!
Then it was time to rush back to the hotel and change for dinner! I had had such a perfect day so far – I wasn’t sure how dinner would be able to top it!
But I couldn’t have been more wrong. This evening was the highlight of my trip and something that will live with me forever… as cringe as that sounds.
Ok – let me talk you through what the plan was.
The whole point of the trip was the #eatlikeanitalian. And ASK has organised for us to have dinner – in a real Italian home, with a real Italian family, with really real Italian food.
I can’t even explain how perfect this was. The set up – a long white table in the family garden, hidden among the winding streets of Venice.
And oh my god the food. The food was heaven. Total heaven. And so was the company. I loved the team from ASK Italian – there was a big group of them out there, as they were shooting some images to go up inside some of their restaurants – and they were all so lovely. It was so kind of them to let us gate crash their trip.
Probably the best pesto ever made.
Then came the rain. BUT – rain will never come between me and a good pasta pesto dish – or anything with parma ham in it – so Sabrina and I soldiered on – in the drizzle – until we had clean plates.
However – we did have to finally admit defeat when the torrential rain and thunder and lighting arrived. But we all huddled into the living room in the house, ate more meatballs then I want to admit to, and had such a fabulous evening. We headed back to the hotel, incredibly full, beyond satisfied and unbelievably sleepy.
The next day, the plan was to head over to Burano. Burano is a little island about 45 min boat ride away from Venice and it is basically an Instagrammers dream. It is filled with colourful houses, with different coloured doors and shutters and oh my god, please let me live here. We spent most of our time wandering around taking photos and exploring – and then headed to Trattoria al Gatto Noir – which if you are ever in Burano for lunch, I highly recommend you visit (and book).
Afterwards we headed back to Venice, wandered around the streets, canals and bridges and just before we had to leave to go home – we hopped in a gondola for a quiz around Rialto bridge. Pure happiness.
I honeslty had the most amazing trip. I absolutely loved eating like an Italian and have now been to ASK about 5 times since we have been home, just to keep on top of my Italian cravings and Aperol Spritz needs. I mean – this is definitely ok, as even VOGUE has declared 2017 the ‘summer of the spritz’.
What I took away from this trip more than anything – is the importance of good food and drinks and most of all taking some time away from busy life to catch up with friends and family and chat and eat and drink. It is such an Italian thing to do – meet up for a drink after work with plates of “cicchetti”.
ASK Italian are encouraging all us Brits to celebrate Italy’s time-honoured tradition of the after work aperitivo this summer, by offering customers a free Alto Garlic Bread with any two cocktails, and to start out own tradition of pre-dinner catch ups. Among the available drinks is the iconic Aperol Spritz, a mix of Prosecco, Aperol and soda, and a classic choice for the acclaimed Italian aperitivo. WINNING.
So as the nights get longer and warmer – head over to ASK, grab all your friends, get an Aperol Spritz and some little plates and make sure to “godersi la vita” (enjoy life)
HUGE thank you to ASK Italian for taking us to Venice and also to the incredible Alessandra Spairani for taking all these gorgeous photos of us. Please check out her website – its literal food porn heaven.