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May 25, 2011 10:06 AM

Good place to shop for Italian provisions in Venice?

Can anyone recommend a good place to shop for Italian provisions in Venice?
I'm looking for stuff to bring home like miele di castagno (chestnut honey), salsa di noci (jarred nut sauce for pasta), and cantucci alla mandorla (little biscotti) to bring home... Usually I go to Milan, where I know the supermarkets and specialty food stores, but this time I am only going in and out of Venice. Will track down a supermarket of course (if anyone can recommend the best one, I'd appreciate it -- I'm staying in Cannareggio) but was wondering if there's any famous specialty food store like Milan's Peck or Drogheria Radrizzani in Venice? I have found mentions of Drogheria Mascari but can't tell if that's mostly for spices... Any tips would be appreciated!

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  1. Venice does not have anything remotely approaching Peck of Milan. Drogheria Mascari has good selection of honey, preserves, dried fruit, spices, candy, dry good such as porcini and sundried tomato, bottled condiments, prepackaged cookies, specialty liquor and one of the best wine selection (in the back cellar). Aliani is a high-end deli that stocks fancier items such as truffle butter, olive oil, vinegar and artisianl pasta. The best supermarket is probably the Billa chain; the ones in Cannaregio and on the Zattere are the biggest. For good cookies, I would go the bakeries such as Marchini, Tonolo for their prepackages stuff.

    8 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      I found Drogheria Mascari quite pokey when we visited it a few years ago, athough thir wine selection looked good.. Venice is in relative terms quite a small Italian city, and it just doesnt have the shopping alternatives of a cosmopolitan metropolis. You may or may not find what you are looking for, especially if you need products from other regions. Best off buying specialties from the Veneto like the cookies PBSF suggests.

      1. re: jen kalb

        Good news; you have received advice from two sources I know you can rely on. We went to Drogheria Mascari to buy some spices six years ago. Only one exceptional purchase; a spice mix they call erbe miste per pesce. I feel sure it contains fennel; not sure what else. That said, it is the best spice for fish I have ever purchased and retains its potency all these years later. Perfect for the classic local risotto of seafood with radicchio. If you are in the Rialto bridge area, stop by the store and buy some. I feel sure it will be a happy purchase.

        1. re: sernoff

          Thanks so much for your advice! I will check out Drogheria Mascari and the bakeries mentioned... Has anyone heard of or visited a shop called I Tre Mercanti?

          1. re: hungry_united

            Seems like a savvy Venetian marketing venture geared mostly at the non-venetian market. Will be interesting to see if the Venetians themselves embrace it.

            1. re: hungry_united

              Tre Mercanti is a beautiful shop to browse. Their products are certainly appropriate for gifts. Since it is centrally located and if you have time, it is worth a visit. Drogheria Mascari's stock is nothing fancy, mostly for everyday use at good prices which fit our needs; their wine cellar is very good. Venice proper is not loaded with great food shops. One will find small shops selling the basic stuff in every neighborhood but nothing very special. We found much better shops in smaller nearby cities such as Padua and Treviso.

              1. re: PBSF

                I won't be able to get to nearby cities, unfortunately, and I'm just flying in and out of Venice for the Biennale, but I will def check out both stores and the bakeries...
                Thank you so much for your input, everyone!

                  1. re: hungry_united

                    If you are near the Rialto market, Casa del Parmigiano (a small excellent cheese shop on the Cp de Bella Viena) has small shop couple of store fronts away that stock some terrific product such as olive oil, vinegar, dried pasta, etc..
                    For very good prepackaged cookies, J. Majer, a small chain of bakeries, has a good selection including a terrific amaretti. The branches off the Cp de Giacomo del'Oriol and on via Garibaldi are the best because they have on premise bakery. Forno al Mauro on the Strada Nuova has a huge selection of cookies, most are good; definitely worth a visit since you are in Cannaregio. Strada Nuova is a busy shopping street with numerous shops of interest.