THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
What do you get when you cross an Italian with a Japanese? No! Not Madame Butterfly. I’m a foodie!!! Vallebona: importers of quality foods from artisan producers in Italy and Japan. To help make lockdown bearable, they have teamed up with some extraordinary chefs to create make-at-home kits for delivery throughout the UK. It is buonissimo!
The Vallebona family began trading in Sardinia in the early 19th century so owner Stefano has over 200 years of Italian food knowledge behind him. After years of supplying top restaurants like Alain Ducasse and The River Café, he and wife Naoko opened a shop in Wimbledon last year (at 70a High Street, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5EE) where they also showcase some amazing products from Japan. Think truffle soy sauce and sea urchin roe! They offer charcuterie, cheese, wine and spirits, a wide range of artisanal products, catering, grazing boxes and home-chef-kits for delivery.
The chef kits are £40 for 4 people and will change every 2 months. My big dilemma was choosing between chefs Adam Byatt of Trinity, Rachel Humphrey of Le Gavroche, Jacob Kennedy of Bocca di Lupo and Emily Roux and Diego Ferrari of Caractère! Eenie meenie miney…Adam! I guess I will have to go back for seconds.
Adam Byatt is the Chef Patron of Michelin-starred Trinity. Now there’s a happy memory! His recipe is bucatino bianco pasta with crema di pecorino, artichokes in oil and pecorino sardo. It all arrived beautifully packaged, complete with a handy ice pack which can be refrozen. The instructions were clear and easy. I whipped it up in 15 minutes, start to finish! I think we devoured it in 5 but I wasn’t clocking.
The ingredients are gorgeous. The pasta from Puglia was excellent. Bucatino is a thick spaghetti, hollow so it soaks up the sauce. The crema di pecorino is divine. If you are weak of nature, DO NOT taste it beforehand or it will never make it into the sauce! If I hadn’t been reviewing, I would have mainlined it! The artichokes from Sardinia were also great quality. I just wish there had been more of them! Lots of freshly grated pecorino on top, et voilà.
Add a bottle of red and you’ll be singing ‘Un bel dì, vedremo!