Vicenza gourmet deli makes lockdowns more bearable
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.
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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