Monday, October 22, 2012

Lunar Landing

Ceiling detail above bed

Great to see Chef Cosimo again, inventive as ever!

A risotto fit for a Doge.

Mixed seafood appetizer with killer shrimp

Tuna medallions
There's no place on earth like the Hotel Luna Baglioni. I hadn't been back for a couple years, so what a pleasure to return for one of those long lingering Venetian lunches at the Canova restaurant and sample the latest culinary delights from Chef Cosimo. The mixed seafood appetizer which began the feast featured a panorama of the catch of the day, including succulent lobster, scallops, schie (those tiny sweet shrimps from the lagoon), and a shrimp with delicate breading to die for. But the real surprise was a risotto with pumpkin and scampi, a seasonal offering you can order only through December. While everything the chef sent out was simply exceptional, this dish could only be called spectacular- a subtle combination of tastes that paired perfectly with a glass of 2010 Jermynn Chardonnay from the Veneto. Also tried three fish preparations including a medallions of tuna highly recommended. Cosmio began his career as a pastry chef, so that every dessert is informed by his incredible expertise. A mousse of three chocolates rounded out the lunch, and then a visit to the kitchen, where the chef delivered a short course in radicchio di treviso, and why he favors it for his cuisine (it's grown in "good well water.")

Ornate headboard
The Luna's high end suites have a lot to offer after the frantic and crowded lanes of La Serenissima. The Giorgione Suite, on two levels, has an airy sitting room off the 5th floor elevator, and an upper boudoir with glorious rooftop views. Attached to the upper level is the ultimate Venetian luxury, an alcana, a private wood terrace, with room enough for two tables and two rataan lounges, perfect for an afternoon snooze.

Afternoon sun
The alcana
Crescent moon pastry filled with cream

The Marco Polo Room and breakfast buffet
I can also report that the Luna's breakfast is blissfully intact, with all the luxury and style that only the people of Venice could concept. It's opulent, delicious, and the Marco Polo Room is one of those venues you don't want to leave. Under the watchful eye of Antonella, you're obliged to try the local crescent moon pastry with cream filling.

Venice isn't as empty as it was 20 years ago. It wasn't even connected to the mainland 70 years ago. In recent days the top name shops have opened (even Disney -imagine!). But you can't easily eradicate a past like this one. The island city remains its own peculiar time machine with enough sensory stimulus for a lifetime. Many thanks to the team at the Hotel Luna Baglioni for yet another reminder of what Venice is all about: history, hospitality, and a love of life.
Left to right, General Manager Gianmatteo Zampieri, Stanley Moss, the inestimable Antonella.

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