This ostentatious osteria has an equally glamorous history. once one of many that characterised Verona’s place in the renaissance period of the Venetian Republic, it was known as Osteria Scudo di Francia, after the French Consulate, housed upstairs.
It got its present name in the 1890s when the Sterzi brothers bought it from a winery in Soave. In 1957 the Rizzo-Grigolo family enriched the cellar and offered restaurant style meals, a tradition that has been maintained since the ‘Amarone Families’ acquired it in 2011.
The significance of risotto all’amarone as one of their signature dishes is not lost on those who know the story. Rice and wine define the veneto region, the area around Verona in particular. More so because Amarone is one of the great stories of the modern era.
Here in the bottega, wine is slightly more important than rice. They have 18,000 bottles of almost 5,000 labels, and all of them are excellent.
Wine is their stock and trade. It is wine that makes them what they are and they know what they are doing, so when you visit, as you must, expect only the best. Sabina Zantedeschi, their young sommelier, will guide you through the tastes of verona’s best wines.
We sampled a ‘2013 valpolicella Classico’ from the Begali Lorenzo winery, a ‘2013 Valpolicella Ripasso’ from Venturni and a ‘2010 Capitel Monte olmi’ from Tedeschi.
The food was exquisite. Luca, the manager, tried to explain that the first dish was an excellent marriage between the sea of Venice and the land of verona. This was scallops with pearà sauce. He was right.
The high standard was maintained with the horse meat stew and potato dumplings. Their hand-made pasta dishes were superb!
Then came the Amarone risotto. Sabina tried to convince us that the tradition of cooking rice with wine started in the Bottega. ‘Journalists came to drink the wine, and the wine that was left over was used to cook the rice that made the risotto, a tradition that began here over 100 years ago.’
It is a great story but it is not the reason why you should book a table here. When you eat and drink at the Bottega del Vino you eat and drink the local produce, because everything that goes into their kitchen is indigenous and everything that comes out is exquisite.
The Bottega del Vino is featured in more detail in our food-travel narrative, The Great European Food Adventure.
rice in red wine
Amarone della Valpolicella is a dry sweet red wine produced in the province of Verona. Using grapes that are dried for four months, the wine is aged in barrels for a minimum of two years. The marriage of this fragrant and fruity wine with the Vialone Nano rice of the region to produce a risotto is heavenly. This version is from Antica Bottega del Vino on Via Scudo di Francia in Verona.
650 ml / 21⅔ fl oz vegetable stock 500 ml / 2 cups + ⅔ fl oz / approx. 1 pint Amarone wine 320 g Carnaroli rice / Vialone Nano rice 80 g / 2⅔ oz butter 50 g / 1⅔ oz Parmigiano cheese Salt, large pinch
Heat wine. Sauté rice in 20 g / ⅔ oz of butter in a large frying pan. Add wine gradually, stiring constantly. Heat vegetable stock. When the rice has absorbed the wine, gradually add the vegetable stock. Cook until rice is al dente, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in remaining butter and cheese. Rest. Serve hot.