Tramezzini are the Venetian version of what the English call “tea sandwiches” or “cucumber sandwiches.”
If you have ever spent any significant time in Venice, you know that one of the Venetians’ favorite foods is tramezzini: Little white bread sandwiches, filled with tuna and hard-boiled egg; prosciutto cotto and mozzarella; sautéed mushrooms and prosciutto cotto (always cotto, never crudo, by the way); mozzarella and tomato (a sort of Neapolitan twist); or our favorite, boiled little bay shrimp in a mayonnaise sauce.
Actually, the list of fillings goes on and on.
For example, in Padua’s famous Piazza delle Erbe, where they have an open market every day, they make tramezzini stuffed with shredded vegetables. (The Paduans are not Venetians, of course, but the Venetian tradition of tramezzini is popular throughout the Veneto region.)
And whether you are in Padua or Venice, the classic pairing for tramezzini is Prosecco. Just ask any Venetian! (Or Paduan.)
The word tramezzini has an interesting origin. It was coined by Fascist “purists” in the 1920s and 1930s who were trying to purge the Italian language of all foreign words, like the then popular sandwich, which had been borrowed from the English language. The word for sandwich was one of many that they devised so that Italians wouldn’t have to use borrowed words from other languages.
The Italian word comes from tra meaning between and mezzo meaning middle: in between the middle would be the literal translation.
In Italy, they cut the crust off like they do in England. But at the new Rossoblu in Los Angeles (photo above), where they serve our Colfòndo by the glass, they keep the crusts on. That doesn’t stop them from being utterly delicious and a wonderful pairing for our wines!
Congrats again to Rossoblu and a hearty Veneto thank you to them for continuing to support our wines! The food there is delicious, including the sandwiches!