For Italians, mangiare (food) is so important that it seems like a religion. No peanut butter sandwich for these people for lunch, but good, honest and above all tasty food. If you appreciate that too, there is good news: there is a place in The Hague where you can eat exactly like in Italy. The likeable Nicoletta Sbaragli () runs Cucina di Casa as she would in her home country. With culinary precision and above all a lot of love.
Because without love, food can never taste good, Nicoletta believes. Last year she opened her cozy lunch shop slash trattoria on the Paul Gabriëlstraat in the shopping area of the Van Hoytemastraat: “I want to give a piece of Italy to The Hague.” And she does, with heart and soul.
Kneaded by hand
To Nicoletta and her (only Italian) colleagues make everything themselves in the wonderfully scented trattoria. From the pastas and pestos to the cookies and bread, everything is cooked and kneaded by hand. At Cucina di Casa (‘the kitchen of home’) you will find heavenly dishes that you will not easily find in a ‘normal’ Italian restaurant
, such as Ragu’ Chicken Liver that you combine with a pasta of your choice.
Or stuffed ravioli in bolognese sauce like you only taste in Northern Italy. These are just a few of the many dishes that you will find throughout Italy, for great prices (a meal costs around € ,-). Nicoletta: “I grew up in Piedmont and was always with my grandfather in the bakery. The love for food was instilled in me from an early age.”
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The real thing
The Italian puts some of those dishes on the table, including an eye-pleasing spaghetti with gorgonzola. “Everything here is also for take away, except this paste. It must be eaten immediately after preparation, otherwise it will not taste as it should,” says Nicoletta.
“You can buy fresh pasta from me with or without toppings. Take it with you or eat it here, we like that.” Would you like a drink with it? Then you can count on the real thing, with the best wines from Bella Italia. Or drink a San Simone liqueur after your meal before or after coffee, according to a secret recipe of Italian monks from Turin. Almost nowhere in the Netherlands for sale, except here, at Nicoletta.
A warm heart
At Cucina di Casa you can also enjoy a delicious cup of coffee or capuccino. No Hague cup here, but fragrant black gold, filled to the brim. Add a piece of homemade cake, with limoncello and jam for example. Do you want something vegan or gluten-free? It is also possible.
You leave Cucina di Casa with a warm heart and a well-filled stomach. And that’s how it should be in The Hague, Nicoletta thinks.