Mamma’s home-cooked Italian food

TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG | PHOTO © CIAO BELLA

“I want our customers to feel the taste of our food as if prepared by an Italian mamma,” Ciao Bella’s general manager, the Venetian Luigi Barban begins.

Beautifully situated next to Amsterdam’s canals, Italian delicatessen Ciao Bella opened its doors to hungry locals and tourists two years ago. As a family business, Luigi put his mamma in the kitchen. “I missed a place where I could buy and eat Italian delicatessen fare,” he explains. Hence, the idea of starting a business emerged.

Ciao Bella has a varied menu consisting of classic and delicious Italian dishes. “What they have in common is the focus on quality ingredients and a homemade feel,” Luigi continues. Tasty examples include focaccias with the finest Parma ham, sausages and fresh vegetables for lunch as well as appetising salads and rich pasta dishes. The latter include traditional lasagna, rigatoni Bolognese and, for vegetarians, pasta al pesto or cannelloni ricotta e spinaci.

A seasonal special of the week is available too. This autumn, tortellini porcini stuffed with mushrooms and a creamy truffle sauce is particularly popular. All ingredients, with the exception of fresh local meat and vegetables, are imported from Italy. Customers can take their meal home or enjoy it at Ciao Bella.

Ciao Bella has had a flying start and the shop is busy with customers following the tempting smell of fresh home-cooked Italian food. “In our short history much of our business has been repeat business, and the message is spreading beyond Amsterdam,” Luigi concludes, next to a noticeboard with cards from near and afar including Australia.

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