Bread is one of the cheapest yet most satisfying foods on earth. I love bread, be it crunchy or soft, brown or white, it matches just perfectly with all other ingredients.
Due to a light intolerance to certain types of flours, I tend to be quite fussy about my bread, so I always go to my favourite bakeries, precisely three.
The bakery I go to most often, which is closer to my house, is Colussi Il Fornaio.
This business started back in 1840 and it used to have a bakery in every Venetian neighbourhood. Today there is just one main bakery left, located in the Saint Mark's district, but the quality has remained exceptional. All ingredients are natural and there are no additives or preservatives, plus the quality of the flours is very very good.
I come here almost every day to buy fresh bread. Colussi Il Fornaio specialises in healthy breads made with high quality flours and lots of seeds! The variety of rolls and loaves is so vast that it always takes me some time to choose, although I have finally decided that my favourite is their brown bread with sunflower seeds!
Not to mention their breadsticks and crunchy multigrain focaccia... oh my...
If you're feeling hungry don't look at the bottom windows, which are filled with sweet and savoury baked goods.
Colussi Il Fornaio is also a great option when I don't feel like engaging in a difficult preparation, In fact, it's possible to buy homemade pasta, like tagliatelle, stuffed ravioli, agnolotti or mezzelune (half moons). Most of the times the filling is vegetarian, with ricotta and a seasonal green.
Of course, they also make gnocchi (potato dumplings), delicious served with tomato sauce, basil and a little bit of grated Parmesan. I generally make my own sauce, but if for whatever reason you don't have the time or will to, you can also buy a gourmet sauce.
All products are made daily and I can give you my word that you will never be disappointed. Anything you'll choose will be just delicious, so go with the flow and let yourself be tempted...
When I was at university I often bought a "square" slice of pizza to take away or, on lazy evenings, to eat at home heated in the oven. Like this is tasted amazing, crunchy on the bottom and with a tender and cheesy heart! Otherwise, they also have some savoury tarts made with puff pastry. Yum...
Colussi il Fornaio is also known for having reintroduced typical, but practically forgotten, Venetian pastries and cakes, like the renown Venetian Focaccia and other dry cakes like Pan dei Dogi (The Doges' bread), Pan dei Pescatori (Fishermen's bread), Buranelli and Zaletti biscuits, all made with one part of maize flour.
I don't have a favourite, I'm democratic: I like them all. But today I got a Pan del Pescatore, so buttery and tasty I could feel it melting in my mouth. I know it may seem strange, but it was salty and sweet at the same time and it had, as always, a pleasant crumbliness. I love to divide it into smaller pieces and savour them slowly, taking my time, like when I was a child...
If you are into more modern and softer cakes, don't worry...there are options to suit all: muffins, sweet breads, spelt biscuits, oat and chocolate chip cookies, apple cakes and so on. You'll be spoilt by choice!
If you allow me to make a suggestion, get a tray with an assortment of cakes and biscuits. If you are staying in an apartment, seriously consider doing part of your grocery shopping at Colussi! You'll be sorted for breakfast and for a couple of delicious meals, plus: you'll be supporting a high quality local business.
Today I made the mistake of going there with an empty stomach, so I ended up buying several things (like my lunch: a portion of ravioli)... and, since Easter is behind the corner, I just had to get the Focaccia. She was sitting there on the shelf, among her sisters, looking at me and begging me to take her away, so I did what I was meant to and now that I'm at home and I've unwrapped this sweet little baby I can't wait to taste a small slice, just to make sure it's up to standards ;-)
The Venetian Focaccia was traditionally a Christmas and Easter cake, but today you can find it throughout the year. I like to have it for breakfast, with a cup of black tea and a few drops of lemon. It's made with flour, sugar, eggs, butter, honey and almonds. That's it: only six ingredients for an amazing leavened cake. As Bruno Munari would say: "Eccellente"!
I highly recommend Colussi's Bakery to anyone who loves homemade baked goods. The bakery itself is very cute, its wooden furniture and soft lights create a warm and homey atmosphere and the perfume that comes from the ovens is incredible. If you happen to pass by this small calle early in the morning it will be impossible not to stop and try their mouthwatering croissants.
The staff is very friendly and helpful and I couldn't imagine a better place in the Saint Mark's district where to shop for bread and other baked goods.
Address: Calle S. Luca 4579Sestiere di S. Marco30124 Venice - Italy
Phone: +39 0415222659