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Monday, April 7, 2014

La Casera Cheese Shop

La Casera is located in Piazza Ranzoni, Verbania, under the arch in the blue wall.

La Casera is located in Verbania, right in the main piazza, and it can be reached quite easily with the VCO public bus or with the ferries.

Here's the door. You would never know what waits beyond, so go inside.


Looking in the door this is what you see. Where's lunch, you're wondering. But don't worry, you're in the right place. Walk through the shop, taking in sights and smells, whetting your appetite as you go.

(   Continued ...   )

And here it is ... through the shop and into this warm, inviting dining space. We arrived early, just as lunch was beginning, so I was fortunate to get this photo of the room empty, because it soon filled up. Stone floors, old wooden tables, domed concrete ceiling ... just charming. See those metal things hanging from the bar crossing the room? Cow bells ... 


Here's the menu. This is not a true 'restaurant' -- there is no kitchen preparing food. Their plates are all combinations of meats and cheeses, with a heavy focus on local varieties.


Zooming in, a bit blurry, but you can get the idea:


You order things, and they just keep bringing different foods to the table. I cannot even recall what came first or with what. Maybe it was this baked, smoked robiola ...


Or maybe this fresh robiola and bresaola...


Or was it this burata ... ?


Or perhaps they were all together. Also present at that time was a board with various grissini (breadsticks), crackers, and a soft crusty bread that was just perfect for sopping up the spicy Tuscan olive oil that had been brought over for the bresaola. In this area, soaking up olive oil with bread is not generally done. But, I love doing so. Ever the rebel...


Next, or possibly before, was a cheese board with a selection of six cheeses and various marmalades. Young and old, soft and hard, and cow, goat, and sheep cheese were represented.


Did I mention there were also prosciutto panini?


All of this cheese and meat can create quite a thirst. La Casera's walls are lined with wine and there are many excellent selections. We had two bubblies, including this Bastianich 'Vespa', from the winery of Master Chef host Joe Bastianich.


Enjoying foods and wine at La Casera is not a fast experience. Not really a normal 'meal'. You can linger, take your time between courses and glasses, and keep asking for more. The ambiance is lovely and the servers took time to explain any food questions we had.


Eventually, we moved on to desserts, which are listed on the bottom of the menu. (The other side of this board menu has the wine list.) Again, foods are not made on the premises, but there was a selection of Piemontese pastries and biscotti that we tried, and also, a chocolate tasting board, with discs of three different varieties of pure artigianale chocolate. 



Here's the website, address, and phone. As you can see, they do not close in the afternoon, which is nice too. La Casera can be part of an exploring trip to Verbania by ferry, part of a Saturday Verbania Market shopping expedition, enjoyed after a walk to Verbania from Villa Taranto (an easy 15-minute walk along the lake; just turn left out of Taranto), or La Casera can be the entire day's activity, as it was for me. We lingered here well into the afternoon, and trust me, we needed no dinner that evening. Makes a great rainy day activity too.


Piazza Ranzoni, 19
28921 Verbania Intra (VB)
Tel. +39 0323 581123




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