Archive for L’Erbaria


Celestial coffee

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An image of the inverse proportion between quantity and quality.

This is a drastic departure from one of my most deeply held beliefs about my blog, which is to make no recommendations about any commercial enterprise or product.  I make plenty of recommendations about behavior, but so far I’ve never mentioned any person or object that was involved in making money.

But the Time has Come to change that.  This once.  For the simple reason that it just seems wrong to me to keep this place to myself.  And since I consider anyone reading these lines as a friend — don’t worry, I’m not going to come visit for the weekend — I would have brought you to this place personally if you were in town. Even if you do come to Venice, you can skip me and just follow the instructions below to a bar/cafe whose coffee is provided by the heavenly host, by means of two women who act like it’s normal to brew something that only the angels are accustomed to drinking.

Even if you don’t care about espresso — I’m going to say, even if you hate espresso — you will be thunderstruck by the ambrosial quality of this liquid. I’m not going to attempt a description because it will make me sound stupid, though I will say its quality is a dazzling blend of aroma, flavor, and texture.  Hard to get even one of those to rise above the average.  So far, it’s been impossible, even here, in the homeland of coffee, to taste something which gets all three of them totally right.

Lino and I go to the Rialto Market at least once a week, and even if we have no intention of buying anything, we have every intention of stopping here for coffee. The trip could therefore never be called a waste of time.

I want you to go to this place the next time you’re in Venice.  If you don’t agree that their coffee is exceptional, I’d like you to tell me what you think is better.  I’d really be curious.

It just occurred to me: If they ever thought about making coffee-flavored gelato, they could rule the world.

The cafe is called L'ERBARIA, because it's in the fruit-and-vegetable section of the Rialto market. Like many shops, its name is nowhere to be seen. So all I can tell you is to go to the corner of Calle de le Donzelle and Campo de la Pescaria.

I’ve never thought to ask their names. Does it matter? It’s enough for me that they’re there and that the machine is turned on.

L'Erbaria is at the corner of C.po de la Pescaria and Calle de le Donzelle. If you come by vaporetto, get off at the "Rialto Mercato" stop, take your first right, and it's at the next street, on your left.

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Categories : Venetian Food
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