Italian food is often served with a side order of history, myth or just a good story. It is therefore no surprise that so many of their classic dishes are named after artists and musicians. Two of these famous classics originate from the same restaurant – the legendary Harry’s Bar in Venice.
Carpaccio is today one of the most copied dishes worldwide. Variations range from thin raw beef slices topped with parmesan and balsamic vinegar to fish Carpaccio or even vegetable versions. The original however, explains Arrigo Cipriani, owner of Harry’s Bar, is simply thinly sliced lean beef dressed in a crisscross fashion with a homemade mayonnaise flavoured with Worcester sauce.
The dish is named after the Venetian Renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio who is known for his use of brilliant reds and whites in his artwork. “My father invented this dish in 1950, the year of the great Carpaccio exhibition in Venice. The dish was inspired by the Contessa Amalia Nani Mocenigo, a frequent customer at Harry’s Bar whose doctor has placed her on a diet forbidding cooked meat,” explains Cipriani in the Harry’s Bar Cookbook.
Another of his father, Giuseppe’s, creations that he named after a painter, is the delicious Bellini. It is a cocktail consisting of fresh peach puree topped with prosecco. The elegant cocktail was invented in the 1930’s but only named after Giovanni Bellini during an exposition of his work in Venice in 1948.