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Updated: Mar 24, 2021
The word spices derives from the late Latin “species”, that is a special thing (food); the term drug, used for a long time as a synonym for spice, derives from the Dutch ”droog” which means dried plant.
Spices are aromatic substances of vegetable origin (pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) generally of exotic origin such as Africa, Asia and Brazil.
They are different from aromatic plants, among which the most common are: onions, garlic and parsley and are plants produced in the Mediterranean area.
Since the Middle Ages, spices have been used in cooking to preserve and flavor dishes. They were also used in medicine as well as in pharmacies to prepare drugs.
The development of the spice route was born thanks to the commercial traffics of the Republic of Venice. The Venetian ships returned loaded with this precious item called “black gold”.
Despite Venice lost its monopoly in the 1500s, spices did not abandon Venetian cuisine. It is estimated that around thirty spices are used in its cooking.
Recipes with spices are “sarde in saor” and the” pastissada di manzo”.
The first one includes marinated sardines with onions and raisins, while the second one is based on marinated and spiced beef.
In winter in Venice when it is very cold it is a tradition especially during Carnival to drink a hot glass of wine called “vin brulé” in which sugar, citrus fruits and spices give the red wine an unmistakable and delicious flavor.
In the Veneto region along the Adriatic coast there are different kinds of sea-shells like the “capparossoli” (clams), “capeonghe” (long sea-shells); “capetonde” (round ones or hearts of the lagoon). They are part of the same family, but it is fair to point out that each of these is a unique specialty with its characteristic flavor.
The production of clams in Venice and Chioggia covers 26% of the national needs, and it is considered a completely sustainable fishery as it respects the environment and the reproduction of these crustaceans.
Their sustainability is recognized by the Marine stewardship council.
These mollusks live in areas with shallow bottoms such as those of the Venetian lagoon. They are 2.5 / 3 cm in size and have a light brown or gray shell, while the inner part is white or yellowish.
In Venetian dialect the clams are called "caparossoli" while the traditional clams called " bevarasse" are smaller.
In the Venetian culinary tradition we also find spaghetti with clams, one of the simplest dishes to prepare. The pasta is served together with the shell of the fish.
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