Friday, September 14, 2007

Aromi La Bottega

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out

-Frank Sinatra

My dad, a big Sinatra fan, used to take me food shopping on Saturdays when I was growing up. At some point, we'd usually end up at an Italian specialty shop called Razzano's.

It was a wondrous place, with dried sausages hanging everywhere, refrigerator cases full of other meats, salamis, and cheeses. My favorite was the case of prepared foods like eggplant Parmesan, cannelloni, lasagna, meatballs and the like.

Like cannoli.

It all sounds basic, but many people felt the level of quality surpassed similar dishes in many Italian restaurants. Really good stuff.

Sadly, Razzano's is no longer with us.

Happily, New York still has more than a few places like this.

Sadly, Prague doesn't.

In this town, the closest thing to the special Razzano's atmosphere is at the new Aromi La Bottega. I only say atmosphere because, while they have some very nice (and expensive) foods to choose from, it is also a relatively small place and the selection is fairly limited by my standards.

Meaning not enough prepared foods. There are fresh pastas and sauces for sale. There is homemade pesto. There are a number of cured meats. There are many cheeses. They sell wine, olive oil, and lots of other bottled and jarred goods.

What does it look like in there? Well, I don't have pictures from inside the shop. Guerrilla photography is pretty dicey in a retail setting.

However, I can offer something even better than my own pictures. My friend, Pan Cuketka, has fabulous photos of the place and its food on his blog, The only issue, for some, may be that the text is in Czech.

Seeing that blog post inspired me to try some of the same things. I decided my purchases would be the elements of a fast meal I would make at home, including a fancy sandwich.

I did see a sign that Aromi La Bottega will make sandwiches to order, but I did not see a menu. When I was there, the shop assistant was setting up some heating trays, but I didn't find out what they were for.

I started off buying some burrata. This is a mozzarella pouch that contains a mixture of mozzarella and cream inside. The pouch is then tied at the top with a ribbon. This one cost 85 CZK.

It was a little bit messy, but I cut it into slices and put them on a toasted ciabatta. I used a ciabatta I already had in my freezer at home.On top of that, I put some of this sliced bresaola. This package of the air-dried, salted beef cost about 100 CZK. I used about half for my sandwich.On the top half of the ciabatta, I spread some chopped sun-dried tomato I picked up at Delvita.

Then, I put it all together. Nice.

I really liked the burrata, but its not cheap. It made for an expensive, gourmet, homemade sandwich. I calculated the costs of the ingredients I put into it, and it came out to 150 CZK.

As an appetizer, I also tried the pecorino with black pepper. It was a delicious little snack. In fact, I was so hungry while I was toasting my ciabatta, that I ate the whole thing. This little slice cost 58 CZK.

Of course, shopping while you're hungry leads to impulse buys. In this case, I got the house-made tiramisu for 80 CZK.This was very good. Also quite small. Too small for the price, I'd say. I'd only get it again if it was half as much.If you consider the cost of the sandwich, the cheese, and the dessert, then it comes out to a total of 288 CZK. That's a lot.

Still, it was a tasty little meal.

But, much more than this, I did it my way.

Aromi La Bottega
Mánesova 83
Prague 2

Tel. (+420) 222 725 514
Mo - Fr 12:00 to 20:00
Saturday 15:00 to 20:00

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

pricey isn't it? ;)

i was told that owner is from Apulia and the seleciton of products in shop reflects his own preferences and tasting experience accumulated over years....

burrata is my new favorite cheese!

i think the best way to enjoy this shop is to come by once a month, taste every dried ham on display and buy the best.. same with cheese! :)