October 24, 2019
In Venice with Select: Where modern meets tradition
It’s not every day you are lucky enough to be invited to one of the most beautiful cities in the world to enjoy two days of delightful food, culture and Italian hospitality along with other food and travel writers from across the UK.
Venice, in fact, was the beautiful backdrop of my incredible trip with Select, the famous aperitif and essential ingredient of the original Venetian Spritz.
It was right in the heart of Venice in the Castello district that Select, with its sophisticated aromatic profile and well-balanced bittersweet taste, was created in 1920 by the award-winning “Fratelli Pilla & C.” distillery, thanks to its vast experience in the art of liqueur production.
Better enjoyed with Prosecco, Soda and one large green olive, Select is a blend of tradition, with its hundred years of history, and innovation and our trip truly reflected that.
History & Tradition
Our discovery journey started with a very exclusive water taxi ride across the famous canals, where the city unfolded in front of our eyes.
The first stop was lunch at the Hotel Danieli, one of the oldest hotels in Venice, just a few steps away from St.Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge.
After walking through its glorious hall, we were taken to the restaurants were the bartender awaited us with the first Select Spritz of our journey which we enjoyed on the terrace with an exclusive view on the lagoon and its numerous little islands.
The lunch was a series of typical Venetian delicacies, including boiled octopus on creamy potatoes, pasta with scallops and crescione and of course, a delicious chocolate souffle as dessert. All accompanied by regional wine and incredible views on the Doge’s Palace.
We then said goodbye to Hotel Danieli, to jump on our water taxi again, off to the place where the Select traditional bottle took inspiration from, Venini Murano Glass factory.
Similarly to Select, Venini was founded in 1921 and has been a staple of Venetian glassmaking since, making it through the years thanks to their reinterpretation of traditional schemes, openness towards new artistic trends and high manufacturing skills.
They welcomed us for an exclusive tour of the factory where we had the pleasure of seeing the maestri in action and learn more about this centenary art.
As an Italian, it was truly humbling to be able to witness such craft and artistry and to see up close pieces of art, exhibited in the most important museums and art foundations all over the world.
Modernity & Innovation
Following our visit to Venini, we headed to what would be our base for the rest of our trip, the incredible JW Marriott Venice Resort and SPA.
This award-winning luxury hotel extends itself on Isola Delle Rose, a private island right in the heart of the lagoon.
The modern look of the hall and bars is a welcome contrast to the simple, light yet elegantly furnished rooms which provides you with everything you could ask.
A spacious bed complemented by a cosy seating area, a dressing room and a beautiful bathroom that opens up to a large balcony allowing you to truly soak in the peaceful vibe that surrounds the island.
After check-in, we had time to relax and get ready for our evening while sipping on the Select Spritz prepared thanks to the kit that the team left for us in the room.
We then met up in the hall and headed towards the olive groves as the sunset unfolded in front of us, ready for dinner at Dopolavoro, the acclaimed Michelin-starred Fiola fine dining concept by chef Fabio Trabocchi.
There we were welcomed by delicious canapés and live jazz music, along with more Select Spritz (in true Aperitivo style) expertly prepared by Brand Ambassador Alessandro who also explained more about Select, its origins and its unique tasting notes.
The team then showed us upstairs; the private dining area decorated with beautiful red flowers and candles.
The dishes prepared for us on the night responded to daily market produce as per Fiola’s ethics, and all presented a modern twist on traditional Venetian cuisine.
Our meal included a fresh Tuna and Avocado Tartare, a delicious Risotto with Prawns, Courgette Flowers and Baked Citrus Ricotta (the most delicious I’ve ever tried) and Mediterranean Seabass with Capers, Olives, Cherry Tomatoes and Vegetable Millefeuille. We then concluded this incredible dining experience and our first day with a beautiful Cheesecake with Raspberries and Mango Sauce.
The morning after, we had some time to explore this beautiful private island and its facilities before heading to our last activity of the trip. How could I say no to a visit to their SPA, recently awarded Best Luxury Resort & Spa for Northern Italy” by LUX 2019 Hotel & Spa Awards? Designed by Matteo Thun, this beautiful space is filled with virtuous light and its openness given by the glass structure invites you to relax and revive amidst nature, with an exclusive view on the Venice skyline.
Facilities include a stunning heated indoor vitality pool that extends outdoors through a moveable glass wall, a sauna, bio-sauna, hammam and gym which makes the perfect escape from visiting the bustling Venice.
After enjoying what this incredible space had to offer, I headed back to the main hotel where Chef Fabio Anello was waiting for us for a special Cicchetti lesson before we headed to the airport.
The JW Marriot, in fact, provides cooking classes (and trips to the Venice markets for those interested!) at their Sapori Kitchens where there are six accessorised cooking stations in a relaxed and warm atmosphere.
Chicchetti are the traditional small bites that Venetians enjoy with drinks, originated from the simple food fishermen used to eat (and drink) during their trips to the sea, they then developed into a tradition that has evolved throughout the years and our class was a reflection of that.
Chef Fabio walked us through how to achieve all the different dishes from the most simple Eggs with Anchovies, to the more elaborated Prawns with Onions, Sultanas and Vinaigrette, passing by Grilled Mortadella and Blue Cheese, revisited Arancinis and typical Venetian bread.
Our experience learning from such a professional was incredible and really gave us an insight into how traditional cuisine has evolved following the trends and tastes of modern living.
We were able to enjoy the products of our from our lesson, obviously accompanied by one last Select Spritz, at the beautiful table designed, like the SPA, by Thun.
Once our self-made gourmet lunch was over, it was time to say goodbye to the JW Marriot and head back to the airport and put an end to this incredible experience.
Select and Venice have reinvigorated the idea that history and tradition can coexist with contemporary living and I’m looking forward to enjoying more of Select Spritz’s now that I’m back in the capital. Will you join me?
W: Select Aperitivo
W: J W Marriot Venice
Written by Marta Fabiani for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International