Sul viale dei ricordi (Down Memory Lane)

Last month’s piece about Murder at Manorless Court, staged by the Guild at the May Fair Theatre in 2002, struck a nostalgic chord with Christopher Trotter. ‘I DO remember the panto! It was huge fun. I was a brand new member and I thought this happened all the time. Would be fun to do again?’ (If any Thespian-minded member likes the idea, raise your hand.)

In the 1990s, the Guild organised something equally remarkable – a trip to Venice. Rosemary Moon was among the members who joined it.
‘The excellent recent TV series Remarkable Places to Eat was delicious television and the first programme, exploring Venice with Angela Hartnett, brought back many happy memories of a Guild trip that was my introduction to the sublime Alle Testiere. I think the trip was in the late 90’s but I have no photos or notes to hand after a huge clear out when we moved – can anyone help with the date please? It was certainly pre my first digital camera.

‘There was quite a group of us including Kate Whiteman, Grace Mulligan, Susan Campbell, Susan Fleming, Liz Franklin and Liz Burn. Who else was there? Please add your thoughts and memories on the Facebook Forum. The highlight for me was our meeting at the Rialto Fish Market with Bruno, one half of the Alle Testiere team, and the guided tour of the market that he gave us. We then explored the bars and spice shops of the Rialto before heading back to the restaurant for the most delicious lunch that Luca had prepared, with a little help from one of the men’s mothers who was still dealing with crabs at a table in the tiny dining room when we arrived. That lunch instilled in me a love of the restaurant which has ensured that all subsequent visits to Venice have had a meal at Alle Testiere at the centre of the planning. To eat there again is one of the few things that would prise me away from Orkney. It’s about fresh ingredients cooked in the simplest ways and, as you will see on Remarkable Places to Eat, within strict time and space constraints. I remember gambas, the tiny lagoon prawns, razor clams and spider crabs.

‘Our other notable feast involved a boat trip to the outer island of Torcello to eat at the Locanda Cipriani, a legendary oasis of calm in the mania that is Venice. Famed for its vegetable garden as well as its ambiance and cooking, we dined at a long table in the courtyard. I cannot tell you what we ate but I clearly remember it being simple, fresh and perfect – and that the wine kept flowing.’

We hope Down Memory Lane will become a newsletter regular. If something sticks in your memory from the distant or not-so-distant past, please do email jonathan@gfw.co.uk.