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Valvona & Crolla
Valvona & Crolla
19 Elm Row,
[View Map]
0131 556 6066

November 2010


My first visit to Valvona & Crolla was back in 1989. Having recently bought an Imperia pasta machine, Mum had my sisters and I in tow to find the elusive 'OO' flour. And so we entered the hallowed portals of Scotland's longest-established deli. I remember the towering shelves, the 'tasters', and dunking more than my fair share of bread into olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. This iconic Italian-Scottish emporium is the perfect pick for the Christmas column, and I was lucky to meet up with V&C's Mary Contini who gave me a sneak preview of this year's festive treats.


For her, Christmas is the time to share her family's passion for food with V&C's customers. The year is spent sourcing ingredients and products, from the tangy Parmigiano-Reggiano, to seasonal items such as Calabrian-baked fig balls, and panettone ordered directly from a family-run company in Milan. As she says, 'It's the time to indulge the senses in the joys of good food'.


Not forgetting wine! Recently awarded Scottish Wine Merchant of the Year, here you'll find the perfect opportunity to avoid generic supermarket plonk over the festive season. With a proud focus on Italian wines, there's everything from aromatic Pecorino (£7.20), luscious Chianti, and vintages for something special. For a different bottle of bubbly, try Concerto which is a dry red sparkler from Medici, only £9.99.


For Mary and the family, the Christmas meal might start with a selection of their prosciutto and cold meats, marinated artichokes, and some of Fife-based East Pier's hand-sliced smoked salmon. Then roasted quail with pancetta, accompanied by polenta, spinach, and escarole greens. 


On to sweets, and with its shiny wrapping there's pannetone, with its soft flavours of vanilla and candied fruits, then a cheese board. The perfect finale for the evening has to be lazily nibbling chunks of nutty panforte, with a glass of raisiny Moscato d'Asti in hand.


I have to admit to being the least imaginative present-buyer in the world, and these days friends & family expect the inevitable combination of food and/or wine!  From Baratti Milano's Gianduja chocolate truffles, extra virgin olive oil, Alpine chestnut honey, V&C's own luxe mince pies, and 'Port of Leith' Finest Reserve Port, there are a million ideas awaiting at Valvona & Crolla.


Buon Natale and happy eating to all! (L Arfa)

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