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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Enoteca La Cambusa

The very inviting entrance to La Cambusa, on via Cavour.

Late one afternoon I went to meet Rosaria, the proprietress of Enoteca La Cambusa on via Cavour, just a block back from the lakefront. When I entered the shop she was busy attending to customers. I heard her speaking perfect German with a couple looking at some sweets near the door. Then she moved to the barrels in the center of the shop where a young couple had some questions for her. They were French, and she responded to them in French, accent perfect as well. And when I introduced myself she switched effortlessly to English for me. Already impressed with the selection and look of her shop, I was immediately taken with Rosaria as well. She was getting ready to close up for the day, and so we had some quiet minutes to chat before she needed to leave.

Rosaria, founder and owner of La Cambusa.

Rosaria Bolla and her family have owned and run Cambusa in this same location since 1981, and previous to that there was another location in town that had opened in 1961. The shop is divided into somewhat narrow sections, with shelves lining the walls from floor to ceiling. These hold a stunning selection of wines and spirits, but also local food specialties, pastas, and sweets. These alone would make Cambusa a favorite shopping destination of both locals and tourists alike, but what really makes it special here are the wine tastings that Rosaria offers.

And the very inviting tables inside the shop.

Arrange a time with her for your group and Rosaria will choose a few wines for you. She'll explain them a bit, offer tastings of all to all with little appetizers as well. There are several square wooden high tables scattered around, with stools, for you to use for as long as you like enjoying the wines. The atmosphere in the shop is friendly and relaxed, one never feels pressured to buy, or to leave. If you're not there for a tasting you can still enjoy the tables and the ambience. Simply buy a bottle off the shelves and if you'd like to stay and enjoy it there Rosaria will open it for you and provide you with as many glasses as you need. And you'll probably get a bit of education and some great conversation also. (What a great idea for a rainy afternoon when you're wondering what to do!)

Rosaria proudly showed me a magazine article written about her in a Disney publication. It features a great photo of her in her shop, where everyone leaves as a friend of hers. She has built up quite a clientele over the years, with customers and fans from around the world, and when they return to Stresa they contact Rosaria first to ask her what they can bring back to her from their own countries.

I didn't stay for a bottle that day, as Rosaria was leaving. But you can be sure I'll be there the next time. Like everyone else who enters Cambusa, I feel I left with a new friend.

Among the local specialties found on the shelves, Fil da Fer.

Cambusa also has a great selection of smaller items, the things that make perfect little gifts to bring home with you if you need to bring for many people without incurring too much cost or weight. They can also arrange shipping for wines and other products bought there.

Enoteca La Cambusa
via Cavour 27
28838 Stresa (VB)
Tel: 00 39 0323 31938
e-mail: contact@winelacambusa.com

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