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May 2, 2008 01:28 PM

Grocer/Cheese in Venice

My friend and I will be in Venice for a few days. We leave at 5 pm on a Tuesday for a few hour ferry ride to Croatia. I was thinking we might buy some food in Venice to eat on board the ferry (assuming that we are allowed to take food on board). My friend is vegetarian so I was thinking we could pick up some bread, cheese, fruit, etc. and having a picnic on board. Can anyone recommend some good places where we can get food for the trip? We are staying on the Dorsoduro, near the Accademia vaparetto stop.

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  1. I will also be in Venice soon. It will be my last stop before returning to the states, and I would like to buy some cheese to bring home with me. I am looking for a local cheese shop where I can buy some really good cheeses and have them vacuum packed. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Scooter22

      The Casa del Parmigiano near the Rialto market comes highly recommended. I imagine that they can vacuum pack. But remember that only hard cheeses will be admitted to the US.

      The Rialto market would also be the best place for fresh fruit.

      1. re: Scooter22

        I also recommend Casa del Parmigiano near the Rialto. Also nearby is Aliani Gastronomia on Ruga Rialto which has an excellent selection of cheeses and well as other food items. I think they vacuum pack cheeses. US Customs does not allow raw milk cheeses that are aged less than 60 days, but I have found that they seldom enforce it if the amount is small. I've gone through customs with cheese in JFK, Chicago OHare, Dallas/Ft Worth and SFO have not had any problems.

      2. The area around Campo San Barnabas that has shops that sell cheeses, breads, etc, including a floating produce stand.
        A good one-stop is the supermarket, Punto, on the bottom of Campo Santa Margherita which has a very good deli department: bread, cheeses, cured meats and a large selection of prepared food, including many non-meat items (but not a great selection of fruits but the Campo has a daily outdoor produce stand). Another good supermarket is Billa on the Zattere Ponte Lungo.

        9 Replies
        1. re: PBSF

          Ive shopped at both the supermarkets over toward San Barnaba and they are very good but if I would recommend Aliani or one of the other places near the Rialto if you want the best quality chees to vac pack and take home. Aliano also makes a stunning gorgonzola torta(you know the gorg. layered with mascarpone) which, whith bread makes a great picnic. They dont sell bread, tho (there are several bakeries nearby). and wonderful fruit merchants, of course.

          You didnt say where your ferry leaves from, and where it would be convenient for you to shop..

          1. re: jen kalb

            Sorry about that. We are leaving from the San Basilio Passenger Terminal, so that is reasonably close to where we are staying on the Dorsoduro. We must be there at 3:30 pm, but a quick trip to the Rialto in the morning is probably worth it. According to some websites, Aliani Gastronomia is open from 8 am to 1 pm so we will probably try to do some early shopping. I think my friend will enjoy the stalls at the Rialto market, so we can walk around the stalls as well.

            1. re: Jwsel

              ONe of the supermarkets previously mentioned, for example the Billa on the Zattere might work for completing your supplies. I didnt find a bakery with good bread near the Rialto - the one on the ruga rialto, right near Aliani is not so hot..

              If you are in that part of Dorsoduro, you might enjoy the clutch of good restaurants nr. San Barnaba. They are less touristic I think than the ones closer to the Accademia.

              1. re: jen kalb

                if you are heading over to Rialto in the am, you might want to stop by Tonolo on the way for some coffee and a pastry.

              2. re: Jwsel

                If it is only for cheeses, Aliani is definitely the best choice. Just a block from the Rialto is Panficio El Forner de Canton. It has a good selection of breads, especially their various rolls. Get there before noon or the selection gets very limited. I agree with the above post that the bread at place near Aliani, El Forner de Maure, is not very good. I cannot think of another good place for bread in that area.
                If you are interested in more than just cheese, bread and fruit, the supermarket, Punto, does have a good selection of prepared salads, frittatas, vegetables, etc that are not easily available in the Rialto. Aliana has a small selection of prepared food but it is expensive and most require reheating.

                1. re: PBSF

                  The suggestion of El Forner de Canton is an excellent one - to avoid the crowds, and for a better selection, there is a second store on the Strada Nova. You can take the traghetto from the vegetable market to San Sofia, go to Strada Nova and make a left and it will be on the right.

                  They also have pretty good bread at the health food store near the fish market - in that little campo there.

              3. re: jen kalb

                How do you think gorganzola would keep on my flight home from Italy to the states? I know hard cheeses like parm or romano wouldnt have any problem, but softer cheeses like gorgonzola? That gorgozola torta sounds wonderful, and I will definitely try it there. Does anyone know how they tell the difference between a raw milk cheese and one that has been aged over 60 days? I dont plan on bringing any raw milk cheeses home, but I also dont want to show up with customs and have them confiscate my items.

                1. re: Scooter22

                  Most of the soft creamy cheeses are aged less than 60 days. These cheeses should be bought and eaten at their perfectly creamy ripe condition. The problem of bringing these cheeses home (besides the US Customs issue) is that by the time they get home, they are no longer at their peak and do not taste the same as when one ate them there. Also one has to consume them within a very short period of time once they arrive back to the states. That being said, I have brought home some (raw milk Camembert from France, gorgonzola dolce, Talleggio, etc,) and still enjoyed them. I would advice against the gorgonzola torta mentioned in one of the above post because it contain mascarpone which should be very fresh and very perishable. One might bring back a good Montasio and Asiago which are produced in that area or some well aged Parmigiano Regggiano or precorino. A suggestion, do try many of the fresh creamy cheeses from Aliana such as stracchino, ricotta, mascarpone, burrata. These cheeses never travel well and freshness is the utmost importance.

                  1. re: PBSF

                    The gorgonzola torta I recommended as picnic fare for the boat ride. I cant think of anything better for that use. We had a great meal of it sitting on plastic seats in the Venice airport. But not for importation/longer travelling. the last time we were in Venice the best breads were ciabatta. Glad there was someting but sad that it was a non-local type.