In Venice, French toast, or “Frittelle alla Veneziana,” offers a delightful twist to the classic dish we all know and love. This traditional Venetian breakfast favorite, sometimes served as a sweet treat during the festive Carnevale season, is rich, indulgent, and infused with unique flavors that reflect Venice’s rich culinary heritage.
Venetian-style French toast shares the basic technique of soaking bread in a mixture of eggs and milk before frying it to a golden brown. However, the Venetian version distinguishes itself by incorporating flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, and sometimes citrus zest, adding a warm and fragrant aroma that makes it distinctly Italian.
The bread of choice for Venetian-style French toast is often “panettone” or “pandoro,” traditional Italian sweet breads that are especially popular around Christmas. Using these breads adds an extra layer of flavor and richness to the dish. If they’re not available, a thickly sliced, slightly stale white bread can be used as a substitute.
The process of making Venetian-style French toast involves soaking slices of bread in a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, sugar, and flavorings like vanilla and cinnamon. The soaked bread is then fried in a generous amount of butter until it’s golden brown and crisp on the outside, yet still soft and custard-like on the inside.
The dish is often served dusted with powdered sugar and sometimes garnished with fresh berries. For an even more indulgent treat, it can be drizzled with a bit of sweet vin santo or dessert wine.
Venetian-style French toast is a delicious way to start the day, offering a sweet, satisfying breakfast that’s filled with the flavors of Venice. Whether you’re enjoying it in a Venetian café or making it at home, it’s a delicious way to bring a taste of Italy to your breakfast table.
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