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Chef Leandro Luppi at Divino Enoteca - The Gandalf of Lake Garda
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Divino Enoteca
5 Merchant Street,
0131 225 1770
Bar open- Mon-Thu 4pm-midnight; Fri 4pm-1am; Sat noon-1am; Closed Sun. Food served-Mon-Fri 4pm-11pm Sat noon-11pm (last orders for a la carte); Midnight for anti-pasti Closed Sun.

Michelin-starred chef Leandro Luppi's hair is as silver as the D.O.C.G. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore I am drinking, and his eyes sparkle with mischief.

The names of his dishes at Ristorante Vecchia Malcesine which overlooks Lake Garda include Life on Mars, Lunatic Eel on the Lake and Turnip Head!

Mrs Bite has been invited to a meal created by Chef Luppi at Divino Enoteca organised by the Italian Chamber of Commerce as part of World Week of Italian Cuisine. The aim is to showcase produce from the Veneto region. The initiative is global and backed by the Italian government.

Chef Luppi likes to work magic on authentic premium-sourced Italian produce.

In a world of fake news, we are served fake tomato as our first course. It looks like a tomato but is, in fact, river Rainbow trout and complemented by an elegant glass of Soave wine.

'My carbonara is different', which comes next is one of the most delicious dishes I have ever eaten. Crispy guanciale and a rich, velvety sauce made with eggs and bread sparks an involuntary 'wow' with the first mouthful. A fellow diner mourns the fact that every bite means the dish will eventually end. Next, a dramatic-looking dish of black beef cheeks braised in Amarone with white puréed celeriac followed by a palate cleanser of lettuce salted caramel and truffle. What mad wizardry is this!
Dessert is panettone parfait which has all the creamy comfort of nursery food albeit elevated to the level of haute cuisine.

It's a feast of gutsy produce-based dishes and not for the faint-hearted. As I take my leave, various waiters urge me to stay for the panettone being served with coffee. Italians never tire of good food, wine and conversation.

Stepping into the night Vecchia Malcesine sails onto my bucket list. I go to bed dreaming of Lake Garda and all the excellent produce the Veneto region has to offer. (S. Wilson)

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