• Nicoletta Fornaro

Sugar Street Supper Club: Adventures in Venetian Art and Food

Sugar Street Supper Club - A project by Lisa Hilton & Anna Gilchrist

Venice has many faces, and one of them is definitely internationality. Sometimes it happens that foreigners fall in love with the city and decide to move here and build something of their own, and this is when the magic happens. On this regard, today I'd like to introduce you to British author Lisa Hilton and art curator and cook Anna Gilchrist, the minds and hands behind Sugar Street Supper Club, the only supper club I'm aware of in Venice.

I met Lisa and Anna on separate occasions through common friends, and I immediately got on with both. Easy going, witty, and fun, they decided to put together their passion for art and food and started Sugar Street. The name is the literal translation of Calle dello Zucchero, where Lisa lives and hosts the events, between the Salute and Zattere. They organise one dinner party every month, usually coinciding with other events like the Art Night or the Glass Week, and every menu is based on a historical or artistic theme.

They research the topic and create an innovative menu inspired by their finds. I attended the September event, during the Murano Glass Week, and loved it! The weather was still nice and warm and the guests were seated in the garden. Before dinner we were served wine and nibbles, so we got to break the ice with the other participants, both locals and foreigners. Vittorio and I made friends with a couple from Chioggia, while of course we already knew the other Venetians...

When everyone had arrived, we moved to the table. There were four beautifully set tables and the atmosphere was chilled and warm. We seemed all quite enthusiastic about the situation, to be honest with you, I had no idea of what to expect and was positively impressed. Every course recalled the art of glass, both from the aesthetic and historical points of view, and I particularly appreciated one of the starters, which was a soft cheese garnished with cherry tomatoes of different colours and cooked in different ways that looked like the millefiori pattern. Simple and beautiful! There were a good number of courses, but everything was light and pleasant... and the wine helped the conversation flow very smoothly ;-)

What impressed Vittorio and I most, was how much they worked and how friendly the whole evening was. If I had to choose a term to describe it, it would be casually elegant, just like Lisa and Anna. Unfortunately the pandemic hasn't helped and for the time being the events are in standby, but in the meanwhile they keep meeting and researching and send a monthly newsletter rich in curiosities, anecdotes and facts about Venetian art and food.

At this point, I think I should also mention that the dinners are suitable for vegetarians and people with other dietary needs. Guests are contacted by email and asked to specify any allergy/need.

Lisa Hilton arranging flowers
Anna Gilchrist serving their pasta with winter pesto

To me it seems they have embraced the Venetian lifestyle pretty well, moving around by boat and getting to know the city in ways only those who actually live here can.

After the Glass Week event, I met them another couple of times, when they were trying out and adapting the recipes before sharing them, and I always got to eat something delicious... like the stuffed roast chicken aromatised with pomegranate, the pasta with winter pesto or the ice-cream with panettone.

I enjoyed their Christmas newsletter too, not only because of the recipes and the curiosities about Venetian Christmas traditions, but also because they included a short text shared by their Venetian friend Michele Marcello, who described his memories of winter in the lagoon from the Feast of San Martino, with his mother baking the cookie shaped like the kind-hearted knight riding his horse, up to the 6th of January, with our Befana, the good witch. Being Venetian, I knew exactly what he was talking about, and I almost felt emotional.

Anyway, as already mentioned, for now we still don't know when the next Supper Club will take place, but hopefully it shall be soon! Meanwhile, if you'd like to stay updated, you can follow them on Instagram and subscribe to the monthly Newsletter.

As for myself, I look forward to seeing them again and discovering what they've been working on...

Bye for today and talk soon!



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