Discover Benelux, Issue 34, October2016

Page 25

Discover Benelux | Rotterdam | Close to the City Centre Highlights

A culinary love story

With an inexhaustible passion for Italian cuisine and quality products, and not to forget for each other, Peppe and Linda Cappellano of Italian deli La Vita é Bella have been making life in Rotterdam more beautiful for years. The most divine Italian delicacies smile upon you when entering the deli on the Oostzeedijk Beneden, creating a feast for both the eyes and ears. The smell of fresh coffee, a broad range of antipasti, cheeses, Italian sausages, olive oil, dried ham, fresh paninis: this lunchroom is an oasis for those who desire a touch of Italy. La Vita é Bella was born in 2006 as the brainchild of Peppe and Linda. They were both


from Sicily, both knew exquisite food, and both were determined to bring the best piece of Italy to the Netherlands. They fell in love on the south Italian island, after which Linda followed Peppe to Rotterdam. “All products in La Vita é Bella come from local Italian companies,” Peppe says. “All ingredients carry the ‘Qualitalia’ mark, a label indicating the product’s quality and authenticity.” Besides being the perfect Italian setting for specialty shopping, lunch or simply a cup of coffee on the sunlit terrace, La Vita é Bella organises tastings and offers ‘Servizio di Gastronomia’, or custom catering. Many companies in Rotterdam have used their catering service for years. “And if desired, we come to your home to cook in your own kitchen,” according to Peppe. La Vita é Bella’s secret ingredient? “Passion,” Peppe enthuses. “Italians do everything with passion. And that is our motto too: do it with passion, or do not do it at all!”


At Osteria Sala Federico, surrounded by vivacious Italian banter and authentic products that steep the space with heavenly smells, you will find that the real taste of Italy is never far away. Being the younger brother of deli La Vita é Bella, Osteria Sala Federico follows its sibling in purely serving Italian traditional and local products. Whereas Vita é Bella is a lunchroom, Osteria Sala Federico opens in the evening, being the ideal spot for a long night of Italian wining and dining. An Osteria originated in Italy as a place for serving simple yet exquisite dishes, accompanied by a good glass of wine. “An Osteria is a cosy Italian living room where people come together to enjoy good food and wine,” owner Peppe explains. The name Federico refers to the six-year-old son of Peppe and his wife Linda. “And – coincidentally – the name of our chef is also

Federico,” Peppe laughs. There is no solid menu at the Rotterdam Osteria; what is being served is dependent on the season - and what Italy is eating that day. “We get deliveries from Italy three times a week. Friday, for example, we often have fish on the menu because traditionally Italians eat fish on that day.” Classics such as pasta with truffles or pasta with lobster however, rarely disappear from the menu. “We only serve products from Italy. Nowhere else. Our gambas come from the Mediterranean Sea and our wines are all bought from local Italian families.” As Italian as the products are Osteria’s staff and customs. “I run quite a tight ship,” Peppe laughs. “No cappuccino for example, as Italians only drink that before 9am. And there is no way customers get a knife next to their plate of spaghetti or tagliatelle!”

Owner Guiseppe Cappellano and Chef Bruni. Issue 34 | October 2016 | 25