Photographer Paolo Destefanis | Photo: Sebastiano Tecchio
It was this time of year in 2000 when Italian photographer Paolo Destefanis set out with my manuscript in hand to shoot images for Veneto: Authentic Recipes From Venice and the Italian Northeast, a title I wrote for Chronicle Books. I had gone with him earlier in the year to capture the magic of the Venice and its waterways in springtime and to explore locations in some of the mainland provinces. But I missed the second trip the following fall, and had to satisfy myself with being there vicariously through the vivid photographs he took. While I love the fieldwork, research, and recipe testing that is the writer’s task when producing a cookbook, I have always been drawn just as much to the design and illustration of its pages. Housebound after multiple surgeries and subsequent therapies, it was a melancholy autumn, lost to me forever, but Paolo’s painterly images were a consolation. Looking at them again today, it occurred to me that my readers have been deprived of seeing many of them, as the budget for the book allowed for only some twenty-five.
Here, with Paolo’s permission, is a gallery of photographs, both unpublished and published, that evoke the spirit, the flavors, and the experience of Venice and its beautiful region at this glorious time of year.
Skipper Mauro Stoppa on the Eolo at San Giorgio, Venice
A cook cleaning baby cuttlefish at the celebrated fish restaurant Corta Sconta, Venice.
Antipasto di mare, Corte Sconta, Venice.
Antipasto di mare, Corte Sconta Restaurant.
Frittura di mare, Venezia Lido.
Fondamenta Ostraghe, Venice
Santo Stefano, Venice
Fondamenta Barbieri, Venice.
Pumpkin truck, Veneto.
Pumpkin, one of Veneto’s adored foods.
Chioggia pumpkins, considered the best for their sweet, compact and juicy flesh, Bardolino.
Pumpkin truck, detail, Veneto.
Roast pumpkin, once popular street food hawked on the piazzas of Venice.
Pumpkin risotto, Bardolino.
Radicchio farmer, Treviso.
Radicchio in the field, Veneto.
Various radicchios at market, Rovigo.
Bortolan Bakery sign,Treviso.
Risotto al radicchio, Loggia Rimbaldi, Bardolino.
Bigoli contadina, (bigoli “peasant style”), another primo at Loggia Rambaldi, Bardolino.
Cane and reed huts, Po River.
Cabbages, Venezia Lido
Laverello, sweet water fish of Lake Garda, “all’acqua pazza,” steamed in “crazy water.”
Baccalà, dried and salted cod, Rovigo.
Baccalà alla vicentina, Fontana Fredda.
Ristorante Il Capriolo dining room, Vado.
Rural house near Cortina.
Cortina panorama. Land of polenta, potatoes, and Lamon beans.
Sign for beans, Lamon.
The famous beans of Lamon.
Woman shucking beans, Lamon
Salviata, eggs scrambled with sage.
“Cornetti,” flat beans with anchovy.
Pomegranates, a favorite fruit of the Veneto.
Hen turkey with pomegranate, a classic harvest dish of Vicenza.
Apples of Lamon.
All photos Copyright ©Paolo Destefanis, www.paolodestefanis.com