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Michelin-starred restaurant in Italy offers gourmet meal deliveries

In Alba, Piedmont, you can now have a three-course gourmet meal delivered to your door for 35 euros ($38)

Michelin-starred restaurant in Italy offers gourmet meal deliveries
Chef Marc Lanteri at work. All photos: Marco Bertorello/AFP

When you think of food deliveries, particularly in Italy, it's probably going to be pizza. Or perhaps sushi. But as lockdown rules have forced restaurants across the country to close to the public, even the most elegant of restaurants have turned to takeaways to help them survive.

One chef in northern Italy has even begun a delivery service from his elegant Michelin-starred restaurant in response to the two-month shutdown.

French chef Marc Lanteri has been at the helm of the Ristorante al Castello Grinzane Cavour in Piedmont since 2015, never imagining that a health crisis would drive him to start doing deliveries.

But recently, the protege of Alain Ducasse has decided to make the best of things as the restaurant awaits reopening – which may now be possible from next Monday.

READ ALSO: What are Italy's new rules on visiting bars and restaurants under phase two?

 

In cooking for deliveries only, Lanteri has become a culinary one-man show: sous chef, cook, and delivery man to boot.

“We decided to do delivery so we wouldn't get out of the habit and to acquire a new clientele,” Lanteri told AFP.

“We have to welcome a more local clientele.”

Located about five kilometres (three miles) from Alba within the hilly UNESCO region of Langhe, known for white truffles and Barolo red wines, the restaurant usually attracts clients from further afield in Italy, as well as international tourists.

They come not only for the food, which has garnered one star from Michelin, but the spectacular setting, located inside a 11th century castle atop the town of Grinzane Cavour. The castle was once the home of Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, a 19th-century Italian statesman.

To make it work, Lanteri has lowered prices and focused on a simpler, more rustic Piedmontese menu.

For 35 euros ($38), a client receives a full meal based on seasonal produce, delivered to the home by the chef himself.

And, in a nod to the exceptional circumstances that have touched Italy and the world, a mask is included with each order.

On a recent afternoon, the menu included homemade pasta, a beef dish featuring rump steak, and a traditional Breton dessert.

“The meats are pre-cooked, barely pink and vacuum-packed,” said Lanteri, adding that instructions for the final steps come with the meal.

“The customer, following our instructions, can make a gastronomic meal.”

One downside – clients won't be able to enjoy the restaurant's luminous dining room featuring well-worn terracotta tile floors, heavy beamed ceilings and ancient, weathered bricks.

But Lanteri says that little by little, locals are getting used to the idea of delivery.

“It's more busy on weekends, during the week it's a bit quieter. But people have to get used to it,” Lanteri said.

The restaurant has not yet decided when it will reopen its doors for normal dining service, although Lanteri acknowledges that things will inevitably change.

“And it won't be easy anyway,” he said. “The client will have to get used to it, especially at the beginning. He will be a little reluctant to come. We'll have to make him feel confident and it's a real challenge.”

“We're going to make it, we hope.”

 

 

Member comments

  1. This is absolutely a wonderful example of what happens when Piemontese bogia sen resistance to defeat is combined with Colorado pioneer spirit! This gastronomic power couple are leaders in the battle against despair!

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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