Design Unusual

Crotto Valtellina (VA)

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Crotto Valtellina (VA) — Lombardia Secrets

In Varese, the restaurant, enclosed between a scenic sandstone cave and a romantic dehors, is the perfect synthesis between tradition and innovation orchestrated by chef Roberto Valbuzzi, third generation of the family, originally from Valtellina, at the helm of the restaurant since the 70ies.

The year 2024 marks an important anniversary for Crotto Valtellina which celebrates 50 years of activity, since grandfather Romano decided, in 1973, having moved from Sondrio, to purchase the famous Grotto Valcabrina (“grotto” means natural cavity) and to transform it into Crotto Valtellina, in homage to his beloved homeland.

A very well-known location in the area, as it was built, in part, inside the famous Malnate sandstone quarry, which has been used since medieval times. Once the mining activity ceased, in the early 1900s, thanks to the cool temperatures inside, it became a restaurant with accommodation and, then, following its growing popularity, a dance hall, as can be seen from the period photos hanging on the walls of the restaurant.

Crotto Valtellina (VA) — Lombardia Secrets
Crotto Valtellina (VA) — Lombardia Secrets

We act as custodians of a centuries-old food and wine tradition, on the one hand offering the most historic recipes of Valtellina, and on the other bringing the fruits of the micro producers of the territory into the future with creativity.

(Roberto Valbuzzi, chef)

Today the cave is the wonderful theatrical backdrop in front of which the most beautiful show in the world is staged every day, that of nature refined by the hand of man and filtered through ancient wisdom.

Crotto Valtellina is, in fact, the perfect union of three generations: Roberto, visionary chef, famous face of various TV programs, and his wife Eleonora who follows the communication & the events, his father Leonardo with mother Maria Vittoria who take care of the impeccable room and the hospitality, and grandparents Gisella and Luciano who manages the family farm from which most of the genuine raw materials used in the restaurant come.

Crotto Valtellina (VA) — Lombardia Secrets
Crotto Valtellina (VA) — Lombardia Secrets

A union of souls that is also reflected in the exceptional culinary offering, divided (curiously into two synergistic but distinct menus) between classic recipes of the Valtellina tradition and more creative proposals in which Roberto combines haute cuisine techniques with new combinations of flavors that he loves experiment together with his team.

Everything is made internally directly from the family garden and farmyard or, where this is not possible, purchased from small, possibly local artisan producers.

Crotto Valtellina (VA) — Lombardia Secrets

Thus, in the Carta Storica you can order traditional dishes, from sciàtt to classic pizzoccheri, from sliced local bresaola to a selection of casera cheeses; while in the Carta alla Scoperta del Territorio local ingredients are combined with creativity, as in the Lamb, pistachio crust, flaked potato, chocolate base and chilli wafer or in the Fake rabbit strudel, grapefruit and chilli chutney, spinach, multicolored carrots and corn.

An attention to nature and its rhythms which is also reflected in the original interior design, which makes Crotto Valtellina one of the most beautiful restaurants in the region. In fact, against the background of the sandstone walls, a romantic iron and glass structure was built which merges with the central building, giving life to two main rooms wrapped in an embrace of plants and flowers that vary according to the season.

Crotto Valtellina (VA) — Lombardia Secrets
Crotto Valtellina (VA) — Lombardia Secrets

The experience is completed by a wine cellar of over 460 labels with a peculiarity: around 270 important historical vintages, part of the private collection of the Valbuzzi family, which, upon request, can be tasted and purchased in the restaurant.

Crotto Valtellina is truly a treat from every point of view: to the eye, to the palate and to the heart, a perfect distillation of centuries of history translated into a perfect hospitality project.

The Secret

In summer you can eat in the cool and suggestive cave: the floor and the ancient iron coat hangers on the sides of the walls date back to the times when it was used as a ballroom.

Useful Info

Crotto Valtellina
Via Fiume 11
21046 Malnate, Varese
Tel. +39 0332 427258

Tasting menus: from 95 euro, with wine pairing 125 euro
Starters: from 17 to 22 euro
First courses: from 18 to 21 euro
Second courses: from 21 to 32 euro

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