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With vegetables, sauces, vinegars, oils and truffle salt, Il Ceppo in Vicenza, Italy, is a cornucopia of tasty delights.
With vegetables, sauces, vinegars, oils and truffle salt, Il Ceppo in Vicenza, Italy, is a cornucopia of tasty delights. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
With vegetables, sauces, vinegars, oils and truffle salt, Il Ceppo in Vicenza, Italy, is a cornucopia of tasty delights.
With vegetables, sauces, vinegars, oils and truffle salt, Il Ceppo in Vicenza, Italy, is a cornucopia of tasty delights. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
Il Ceppo in Vicenza stocks all sorts of cheeses, primarily from Italy and France. They will compose cheese and/or meat selections for customers, including a fruity mustard they make on site.
Il Ceppo in Vicenza stocks all sorts of cheeses, primarily from Italy and France. They will compose cheese and/or meat selections for customers, including a fruity mustard they make on site. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
A partial selection of prepared foods in Il Ceppo's daily selection of fish, meat and poultry main dishes, along with pasta, potato and vegetable sides. There's nearly always something that looks good for dinner in the Vicenza shop.
A partial selection of prepared foods in Il Ceppo's daily selection of fish, meat and poultry main dishes, along with pasta, potato and vegetable sides. There's nearly always something that looks good for dinner in the Vicenza shop. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
Among Il Ceppo's many offerings are cooked and cured hams, a variety of salami and other cured meats. The Vicenza store has done brisk takeout business during Italy's lockdown.
Among Il Ceppo's many offerings are cooked and cured hams, a variety of salami and other cured meats. The Vicenza store has done brisk takeout business during Italy's lockdown. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
Il Ceppo, a gourmet food and wine store located on Vicenza's high street, has been a go-to takeout spot for those with discerning tastes all through Italy's pandemic lockdowns.
Il Ceppo, a gourmet food and wine store located on Vicenza's high street, has been a go-to takeout spot for those with discerning tastes all through Italy's pandemic lockdowns. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
Il Ceppo in Vicenza has a wine cellar that also serves as its restaurant. It's closed because of COVID-19 restrictions, but proprietors hope to reopen in the next few weeks.
Il Ceppo in Vicenza has a wine cellar that also serves as its restaurant. It's closed because of COVID-19 restrictions, but proprietors hope to reopen in the next few weeks. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)

Osvaldo Boscolo started out in bacala, the Veneto region’s celebrated salt cod.

Fifty years later, he still sells it by the ton. But he sells a lot of other ready-to-eat foods, too, in his family’s gourmet deli and restaurant.

There are lamb chops, lasagna, crepes, steamed vegetables, fried fish, broiled fish, shrimp salad, octopus salad, eggplant parmigiana, tripe and roast chicken.

Parma hams hang from the ceiling, just one kind of nine or 10 other hams waiting to be cut razor-thin for customers. Scores of cheeses from Italy, France and elsewhere are on offer. Ready-made sauces — duck ragu, meat or seafood in tomato sauce — sit next to fresh pastas to be cooked at home.

There are rows and rows of jams, canned vegetables and sauces, oils, vinegars, quail eggs and more. You can even pick up staples — a dozen regular eggs, milk, tortillas, caviar — from the refrigerator.

Il Ceppo deals in quality products and prices them accordingly. I’ve sometimes chided myself that I spent $4 on something like potato puree, but such thoughts disappear at the first creamy bite.

Recently I got three little lamb chops for 11 euros (about $13). Adding the potato puree, cooked peas, grilled vegetables and a piece of quiche for the next day’s breakfast, the bill came to 22.35 euros. I did have leftover peas and vegetables.

The wine cellar, where the elegant eat-in restaurant for which dishes are made to order is located, is closed as Italy endures its third or fourth COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

“We hope it can open in April or May,” said Maria Giovanna Boscolo, one of Osvaldo’s daughters.

That’s when they hope they can also restart their wine and food tastings. I attended one where the wines were way out of my league but delicious. My sommelier, Eva, later steered me to an 11-euro bottle of regional red that drinks like it costs far more.

The Il Ceppo staff are friendly like that. Most of them speak some English too.

Lockdowns have been good for Il Ceppo’s balance sheets. Maria Giovanna said business is up around 20%.

Already primed with a thriving takeout business, they never missed a day of business from morning to evening, six days a week. When everything was forced to close on Sundays last year, they opened up Mondays, the one day of the week they had been closed. They even added a delivery service.

montgomery.nancy@stripes.com Twitter: @montgomerynance

Address: Corso Andrea Palladio, 196, 36100 Vicenza VI

Hours: 8 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays.

Prices: Moderate to expensive

Clientele: Mostly Italians; some Germans and Americans

Menu: English is available.

Phone: +39 (0)444 544414

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