Food & Wine
When taste meets art
In a narrow alley that winds its way from Piazza della Vittoria towards the port of San Vincenzo, where you can make out the exact point where the sea and sky touch in the distance, you come across a spot where art and cuisine merge: Bella Bertolda, which has recently opened its doors in place of Il Gambero Rosso, the prestigious restaurant that belonged to Fulvio Pierangelini.
It is named after Bert, the French impressionist model sought after by painters in the late nineteenth century who used to tempt men in various ways.
The place has undergone a change of name and style, given the Belle Époque furnishings. Where did the idea come from? "From the urge to 'save' the place and its history," explains the painter Giampaolo Talani, the champion of the revival as well as one of the leading artists on the contemporary scene.
The two are childhood friends: wandering the same streets, they have always shared a love of art, which they've expressed in different ways, one on canvas and the other in the kitchen.
Since the closure of Il Gambero Rosso, Fulvio carried on paying the rent because "it has been a glorious place [and] I don't want it to be ruined". These are the words used by the chef as quoted by Talani.
The restaurant is managed by Giampaolo's son, Martino, and Laura Farina, Talani's assistant with a real passion for catering and a wealth of experience in Modena at La Cerveza.
At Bella Bertolda you can relish dishes hailing from Emilia and the Garfagnana area, good hearty food of a bygone age. Before and after dinner you can while away your time at Hemingway, a pub located in the former wine bar of Il Gambero Rosso.
In this Havana-style ambience, superb music, from rock to blues, pays tribute to the land that the writer loved so dearly.
"Il Gambero Rosso was the pride of San Vincenzo and we are not here to try and emulate Fulvio's work, which has nevertheless filled us with confidence," continues Talani.
"Great music and painting set the scene for refined yet simple dishes: until mid-September we will host an exhibition of twentieth-century painters as well as little jazz concerts, creating the perfect place to feed body and mind."