The Chocolatier of Venice

storefront

It’s been about two weeks in Venice, and so far the biggest surprise has been this: the food in Venice is mediocre at best. Much of this, I believe, can be attributed to the rampant tourism industry, and tourist menus abound on almost every street, unless you wander far away from the crowds. Even then, you’re going to be paying a lot for a so-so meal, unless you’re careful. This is not to be pessimistic though — there are some great places to eat if you take the time to seek them out! They’re just hidden from the daily crowds or cost a small fortune.

display

candies

jellies1

But even though Venice is not known for its food in the way that Rome and Florence are, the desserts are still spectacular. I think I average about two gelatos a day, sometimes more (and I’m really not picky about ice cream, so it’s relatively easy for me to find a gelato place I’m happy with). So, naturally, when I repeatedly read about “the best chocolate shop” in Venice, I had to go. Immediately. Vizio Virtù is easy to find and absolutely fantastic — if you’re ever in Venice (or Italy, for that matter), do not miss this place!

single chocolates

jellies2

Simply put, this place is divine. It’s nestled in the neighborhood of San Polo, right by the San Tomà vaporetto (waterbus) stop. The façade is quaint and unassuming, and the shop is small but pristine. When I was in France a few years ago the chocolate was amazing, but I don’t think even that could compare to this.

fruit

brownies

truffles

Of course, it’s ridiculously expensive. I tried the chocolate-dipped candied oranges (about 1 euro each) and the caramel chocolate bar (7 euros apiece). It’s definitely worth a stop though, even just to try a few of the by-the-kilo candies, and I can’t recommend this place enough — everything is exquisite. This place is a gem in Venice (a place where the food scene pales in comparison to the rest of Italy).

all

oranges

In addition to chocolates and jellies from the case, they also offer gelato, mousse, freshly baked brownies (which I have yet to try), and pre-wrapped chocolates, which are great for taking home — if you can make it that far.

Directions: Take the vaporetto to the San Tomà stop. Walk until you reach a T-shaped intersection and turn left; the shop is on the right. Open from 10am-7:30pm, closed Sundays.

Advertisements

Holiday Gift Guide | for the World Traveler

traveler gifts

Just a sampling of lovely gifts for the travel bug on your list. If you’re out of time and looking to purchase something in-store, be sure to check any special/global gift shops in your area (try Ten Thousand Villages if you have one nearby) for one of a kind items. These eleven gifts are practical pieces for any frequent flyer, and are reminiscent of cultures from around the world for those who don’t jet-set as often but still suffer from chronic wanderlust (aka me).

  1. World Market: Menhdi Chest | This beautiful Indian chest is perfect for storing jewelry and adds a touch of color to any room. $40.
  2. Ten Thousand Villages: Deco Leaf Bangle | Gorgeous fair trade bangles straight from India are an easy but thoughtful gift. $10.
  3. Ten Thousand Villages: Mosaic Mandala Bracelet | Fair trade from India. $16.
  4. Ten Thousand Villages: Frond Batik Bangle | A beautifully dyed wooden bangle, fair trade from Indonesia. $7.50.
  5. Anthropologie: Dip-Dye iPad Case | This case is economical space-wise and perfect for stowing an iPad in style during long plane rides. Plus, it’s a fair trade product, handmade by women in Guatemala. $58.
  6. Anthropologie: Driftwood iDock | One of the most unique ways to charge your iPod (seriously, no two pieces are alike) that I’ve seen. $98.
  7. J. Crew: Tartine Tote | A roomy and beautiful bag that will carry absolutely everything and last for years. $298.
  8. World Market: Star Leather Wrap Watch | I love watches. This one is perfect for any girl that needs to keep track of time while traveling, and has an adorable wrap design. $20.
  9. J. Crew: Leather Passport Case | A chic way to keep track of your passport. $45.
  10. Ten Thousand Villages: Blue Capiz Earrings | Dyed fair trade shell earrings from the Philippines. $16.
  11. Brookstone: Wheeled Storage Trunk | This trunk is perfect for traveling or makes for a statement storage piece. $166.

{Sources: worldmarket.com, tenthousandvillages.com, anthropologie.com, jcrew.com, brookstone.com}

Holiday Gift Guide | for the Photographer

photogifts

I’ve decided to publish a short series of specifically-focused gift guides for the holiday season, sourcing more unique (but still easy) gifts as opposed to the fall-back gift card. The gifts in this one are tailored for the photographer — or simply photo enthusiast — on your list (or for yourself). I’ve also tried to include a range of prices, so there are plenty of options! Shopping for a photographer can be expensive, but if you’re creative you can find fun gifts for much less.

  1. Grafea England: Leather Camera Bag | This leather camera bag is the really deal, made from high quality leather with a sturdy design. It’s a chic alternative to all the black nylon camera bags out there, and I love the vintage look. $260.
  2. Ballerina Project Prints | The Ballerina Project is a fantastic ever-growing photography collection (check out the Facebook page for more images), and they are also offering limited edition prints online. 11×14 prints are $80 and 16×20 prints are $230. All prints are hand numbered and signed.
  3. National Geographic: The Photographs | This iconic collection of images, curated by Leah Bendavid-Val, features 310 color photographs from the National Geographic archives. Currently on sale for $10.
  4. Photojojo: Reusable Underwater Camera | For a super low price, this camera is a cute gift for anyone remotely interested in photography. An easy-t0-use film camera, this gift would also be perfect for kids. $15.
  5. Photojojo: Wood Camera iPhone Case | This detailed walnut case comes in sizes for the iPhone 4/4S as well as the iPhone 5. The vintage look finishes off the case. $42.
  6. Printstagram: Instagram Stickers | Printstagram offers a ton of adorable options for all your Instagram gems, including mini photo squares and tiny photo books. These stickers come in batches of 252 for only $10.
  7. Lytro Lightfield Camera | If you’ve never heard of the new Lytro camera, you should check it out — the technology, which allows you to focus images after taking the picture, is stunning. The camera comes in several colors for $399.
  8. Flickr Pro | This is perfect for your friend who uses Flickr for photography but is constantly restricted by space limits. Need to get this for myself, as well… A yearly membership is $24.95.
  9. 2013 Photographer’s Market | This guide to selling your photography is a great starter for any friend who does photography as a side job or is looking to become a professional in the business. The book details conventional and unconventional ways to make money from your shots. $35.

Hope you enjoyed this gift guide, whether you’re a photographer yourself or looking to inspire a shutterbug on your list this holiday season. More to come!

{Sources: bhphotovideo.com, ballerinaproject.com, nationalgeographic.com, photojojo.com, printstagr.am, lytro.com, flickr.com, amazon.com}

Style Fix | Le Pencil Skirt

I have recently developed a love of pencil skirts. In part, I blame J. Crew, which seems to be responsible for the majority of my style and color palette fixations (my goodness, but seriously, Jenna Lyons knows what she’s doing!). They’re simple. Classic. Elegant. Feminine. Versatile. And so incredibly chic, when done right.

Clockwise, from top right: Acne, $390, net-a-porter.com; J. Crew, $90, jcrew.com; Karl, $310, net-a-porter.com; J. Crew, $98, jcrew.com; Kelly Bergin leather skirt, $460, net-a-porter.com; J. Crew, $98, jcrew.com.

I used to avoid them, thinking they were too serious or just so drab and unflattering. But with the right cut, a punch of color, and the perfect pairings, they can function as chic, dressed-down pieces for everyday as well as being staples of any work wardrobe. These are just a few that I love — although in the past year or so, the pencil skirt craze has resulted in tons of options for every possible price point and palette, whether you’re into colors, prints, tweed, leather, or just classic black cotton.

What’s your style fixation this week?

Sources: Images via net-a-porter.com and jcrew.com.

9 Ways to (Tangerine) Tango

For me, orange has always been a love-or-hate color. I know people who are absolutely obsessed with it, and others (like myself) who can’t get anywhere near it. I do not own a single piece of orange clothing; I do not have a single orange accessory; I have never decorated with anything orange. Despite my love of pinks and reds, I have never shared the same affection for oranges or yellows (and perhaps justifiably so — they both look terrible with my skin tone).

That being said, I do believe that Tangerine Tango will be an excellent color to represent 2012 as Pantone’s Color of the Year. Honeysuckle pink was chosen for 2011 — a bold, energizing hue — and tangerine takes this concept even further. It is revitalizing and vibrant, perfect for a bright and sunny new outlook.

Despite my personal distaste for wearing orange, the pops of tangerine color that have been appearing on the runways as of late have been oddly appealing. Sometimes I think orange is incredibly ugly, but when used right, it can also be incredibly chic and refreshing. It looks amazing with some good color-blocking, and is a great burst of color in chunky necklaces or skinny belts, cinched at the waist. Fashion aside, it is also a great accent color for decorating (just don’t paint an entire room in Tangerine Tango — try a few squares of accent color instead).

Anyway, so without further ado — 9 chic tangerine pieces I found online:

And the all-important shopping information:

  1. Pleated Bib Dress, $25, forever21.com.
  2. Nantes Pennon Earrings, $98, anthropologie.com.
  3. Block Print Pillow, $20, worldmarket.com.
  4. Sparkle & Fade Suit Short, $49, urbanoutfitters.com.
  5. Roseblossom Kerchief, $14, madewell.com.
  6. Fire Ring Drops Earrings, $32, anthropologie.com.
  7. Qupid Athena Sandals, $29, piperlime.com.
  8. Edie Purse, $238, jcrew.com.
  9. Classic Wide Bangle, $28, jcrew.com.
And with that, I shall return to the comfort of my all-black wardrobe. This has been quite enough orange for one day.

 

So what are your thoughts on tangerine for 2012? Love or hate? (Please, I know there’s no in-between.)

 

{Image Sources: imagesmith.com, forever21.com, anthropologie.com, worldmarket.com, urbanoutfitters.com, madewell.com, piperlime.com, jcrew.com.}