In the heart of Brianza, in Barzago, a contemporary osteria where Giovanna, maître d', and Francesco, chef, entertain their guests with the warmth of home and a fine traditional cuisine, colorful, flowery and full of energy.
For Giovanna Bettega and Francesco Cheloni, Osteria Manzoni really feels like home: it is here that they have chosen to create their “nest” of good hospitality after having met during a previous experience at the renowned Pomiroeu restaurant, another culinary benchmark in Brianza.
Looking for a place to “stop”, in 2020 they decided to continue the story started by the Manzoni family who had restored an old 19th-century bakery to create an osteria ambassador of a territory, that of Brianza at the doors of Milan, described in 1809 by Carlantonio De Capitani D’Hoe as “perhaps the most delightful part of the Lario region (…) an aggregate of fertile and charming hills, where art and nature seem to have competed to combine business with pleasure”.
We want to make our guests feel at home, bringing, in the kitchen as well as in the dining room, both the agricultural tradition of Brianza and the values of the family, transmitted through good food and respect for our land.
(Giovanna & Francesco)
The restoration of the restaurant has maintained all the historical features of the ancient bread-making laboratory, from the suggestive room on the lower floor with stone bricks, to the well from which water was obtained (visible in the bathrooms), up to the ancient fireplace in the main room which contrast with the contemporary design of the building that houses it. The interior, according to the best tradition of Italian osterias, has been enriched by many works of art by friends and local artists such as the works of Michele Manzoni, including the beautiful painting of “The girl with a pearled earring” exhibited in the main hall.
The cuisine is a union of love, that between the Brianza tradition, Giovanna is from Lecco, and Tuscan flavors, Francesco is from Florence, that brings to the table the best of the two regions, Lombardy and Tuscany, with dishes of great technique that aim to enhance the primordial flavors of Italian food, made of a few well-matched ingredients, short cooking times and a close relationship with local producers.
The result is traditional recipes filtered through Giovanna and Francesco’s love for Brianza combined with high cuisine skills. Everything, in fact, is prepared fresh every day, from the mayonnaise to the bases, up to the ice cream, even the edible flowers and the wild herbs, which decorate almost every dish of the Osteria Manzoni, are hand-picked by the botanist Elena Castoldi around Lecco just for the restaurant.
Everything, from the warmth of the room, to the details of the mise en place, is designed to make the guest feel at home, such as the choice of preparing bread and focaccias using ancient grains and mother yeast, or the colorful pot holders made by hand by Lucetta, Francesco’s sweet grandma, that accompany each dish served on the table.
In the menu, the dishes, from soups to risotto, from meat to fish, are described together with the names of the raw material and their suppliers, each of them romantic emblem of millenary traditions, such as the Brianza’s saffron grown by Mastri Speziali, the fish from Lake Como such as Missoltino, the organic vegetables from the Lupollina farm or the Baldo rice by the Testa farm.
The wine list also pays tribute to the territory, combining great Italian wineries with small local artisan producers such as Boffalora and Tenuta Montecchio di Riva Franca.
Let yourself be guided by Giovanna and you will see that Brianza will amaze you with flavors and colors that you will never forget.
On the lower floor, you can still see, protected by a transparent glass, the ancient mortar where flour was once processed to make bread.