A Venetian Breakfast

Graham discovered this wonderful quotation in Elizabeth David's “Mediterranean Food”.

“Begin with a Vermouth Amaro in lieu of a cocktail. For hors d'oeuvre, have some small crabs cold, mashed up with sauce tartare and a slice or two of prosciutto crudo (raw ham), cut as thin as cigarette paper. After this a steaming risotto with scampi (somewhat resembling giant prawns), some cutlets done in the Bologna style, a thin slice of ham on top and hot parmesan and grated white truffles and fegato alla veneziana complete the repast except for a slice of strachino cheese. A bottle of Val Policella is exactly suited to this kind of repast and a glass of fine Champagne and of ruby-coloured Alkermes for the lady, if your wife accompanies you, make a good ending.

“The Maitre d'Hotel will be interested in you directly he finds that you know how a man should breakfast.”

[From “The Gourmet's Guide to Europe” by Lt-Col Newnham-Davis and Algernon Bastard, 1903.]

Update: I bought a copy of “The Gourmet's Guide to Europe” via abebooks, but only the third edition. It's a fun read, and worth picking up a copy if you can find a cheap one. The earlier editions seem to be rather expensive, though. There is now a copy available online from Project Gutenberg, with a slightly different version of the quotation above. It makes it clear that this is referring to a "typical" breakfast at Quadri, available for 4 francs. (Incidentally, I strongly disagree with his remarks about baccalĂ , which is delicious.)

I can't find the passage above in my (I assume) later edition, but it is referred to in the section on Venice:

From the sunlight and the fluster of the grey wings of the doves in the Piazza San Marco, a narrow dark passage takes you to the all white rooms of the Cappelo Nero, the best known of the Venetian restaurants since the Quadri has ceased to be a restaurant, and only remains a cafe. Over this lapse of the Quadri I must be permitted to shed a tear and to hope that the old maître d’hôtel, who had the manners of an ambassador, and who assisted one to order a typical Venetian breakfast with the utmost delicacy, is leading somewhere a pleasant life of retirement.

(Note that Quadri does do food again nowadays and it's supposedly excellent. Although the restaurant is expensive, it's very tempting to go there and try to get them to do me the breakfast described above.)

With regard to the second author, Newnham Davis notes in the preface to my edition:

I record with much regret the death of Mr. Algernon Bastard, who was my collaborateur in the first edition of this book.