Cicchetti (pronounced chee-KET-tee) are a Venetian food Venice is Famous for. So why is the word Cicchetti tricky for native English speakers to pronounce correctly? Possibly because the English pronunciation key for Cicchetti is /tʃɪˈkɛti/. Right… phonetics aside, I’ll give you another hint. There is no K in the Italian Alphabet. So why does it sound like there’s a k in Cicchetti? More on that below. For now, here’s a tip for proper Cicchetti pronunciation before taking that trip to Venice.
How to Pronounce Cicchetti
Even if you don’t speak Italian, watch YouTube videos like the one below made by Italians to pronounce Cicchetti correctly. Especially if you’re planning a trip to eat your way through Italy. 10 Cicchetti to try in Venice is a video by a native Venetian who properly pronounces Cicchetti five times in context. Another tip. YouTube has closed captions in multiple languages. Hit play, then click the CC bottom to turn on the closed captions. Next, click the settings button (gear-looking wheel) and turn the captions to English so you don’t miss the word Cicchetti being pronounced properly. Fair warning, you’re about to be very hungry!
Now back to my point about the Italian language not having the letter K, but still having the sound K as in Cicchetti. In Italian, the letter ‘c’ performs the role of both the ‘k’ and the ‘ch’ sounds. I’ve referenced my Italian language teacher Manu Venditti on ALOR before when explaining how to properly pronounce Orecchiette because he’s sort of a language genius! Even though Manu is a linguist, he does not expect everyone to understand phonetics. Instead, he has a rather brilliant way of breaking down the proper pronunciation of C / CHE / CHI in Italian for English speakers. This video is an oldie-but-goodie and it goes a long way to understanding how to pronounce Cicchetti correctly with all those Cs. Thanks again Manu!
What the Word Cicchetti Means
Cichéti is the Venetian spelling for the more commonly used Cicchetti or Cichetti. All are the plural forms indicated by the ‘i’ ending. Cicchetto is the singular form. Cicchetti are to Venice what Tapas are to Spain. Little bites of local delicacies at an affordable price. Venetians typically enjoy Cicchetti as an aperitif with friends. Cicchetti are often served on soft pieces of bread, crostini, or firm slices of polenta.
The best place to find Cicchetti in Venice is a Bacaro. A Bacaro is a wine bar where Venetians go to chat, eat Cicchetti, and sip an ombra (a small glass of wine). Cicchetti can also be found in Osteria, Enoteca, and of course Cicchetteria. So if you’re doing your own research on where to eat in Venice, try searching for these terms as well! Or subscribe below to get an upcoming post from Italy like 20 Venice food recommendations including the best Cicchetti in Venice and Top 10 Venetian Foods to try in Venice, Italy.
There are countless types of Cicchetti in Venice. Many of which are seen in the video above. My personal favorite is Mozzarella in Carozza a small fried mozzarella sandwich often with prosciutto or anchovies. Polpette are a type of meatball made from seafood, meats, and sometimes vegetables. Zucchini Blossoms are often found sliced or stuffed but almost always fried. Lard makes an appearance in Cicchetti with everything from shrimp to mushrooms. Crostino with Baccalà (salted codfish) or Sarde in Soar (Sardines in sour onions) are Venetian classics. Here’s a quick look at some of the Cicchetti we sampled during our last trip to Venice.
Planning a trip to Venice for the first time? He’s another YouTube video from a native Italian speaker full of additional words and phrases specific to Venice.