Note This recipe makes about 60 crostoli.
Picture the scene. Venice. Late afternoon in late summer. A hard day's sight-seeing over. You've had your fill of cathedrals, piazzas, seafood lunches, bridges, galleries, canals, gondolas (and gondoliers), and you just feel like winding down. So you find a little bàcaro, a friendly-looking wine bar down a narrow side street, take a seat and ask for a glass of prosecco, the soft, lemony local sparkling white wine. Almost immediately you'll be presented with a few cicchetti: bar snacks to us, a way of life to the Venetians - small, salty, savoury morsels like these fennel crostoli, designed to match the drinks and fill the gap before dinner. And if you really want to relive the authentic bàcaro experience, add a healthy slug of Campari or Aperol, ice cubes (and a splash of mineral water) to your prosecco to make a Spritz cocktail, or some white peach pulp for a Bellini. - MAX ALLEN