Italian Food Event| Sapori de lombardia – Menu Sampling at Italia

Life is too short, and I’m Italian. I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0.
Sophia Bush

Lombardian promotion at ItaliaLombardy seems to be in the news for all the wrong reasons recently, with Nicolle Minetti and Silvio Berlusconi keeping the news hot with the  bunga bunga investigations. Meanwhile, Lombardy is doing the foodie rounds here in New Delhi with a unique Lombardian promotion at Italia,  the celebrated award winning Italian restaurant from The Park, which offers a variety of authentic Italian cuisine.

Lombardy which lies in the North of Italy is very famous for its food, culture, fashion, joy for life and football. Culinary delights from this part of  Italy are very rich and mainly consist of rice, cheese and meats. Butter and cream are used much more liberally than the traditional olive oil base for sauces. Famous Italian cheese like Gorgonzola, Parmigiano reggiano, Taleggio and Provolone are produced in this region. Beef, lamb and pork are in abundance in the recipes of Lombardian food. Signature dishes include risotto milanese, veal ossobucco, cotoletta alla milanese, cassoeula, baked polenta gnocchi, pasta norma, tortellini bolognaise to name some.

I was recently invited to sample the Lombardian menu at Italia for a food event held to celebrate the cuisine from the region. The restaurant manager, Vikas did everything to make us feel at home, and Chef Sumopriyo came to talk us through every course. There were surprisingly very few patrons at the restaurant that afternoon, it being a public holiday; maybe a late lunch was the call for the day.Lombardian promotion at ItaliaThe restaurant offers a fine dining experience, is well laid out and offers seating both indoors and outdoors, both casual and semi-formal. We chose to sit indoors as the winter sun was very hot outdoors. Interestingly, Italia also offers the option of ‘Private Dining‘, a separate room you can reserve for a private party, which offers seating capacity for up to 12 people. My plebeian tastes however make me feel happy sitting amongst the crowds… Lombardian promotion at Italia 26th January, Republic Day, meant a ‘dry day‘ in India, so there was no wine with the meal, but I have to say it wasn’t missed. An array of dazzling mocktails made way for starters. Polenta frita or pan fried polenta cakes, which I had sans pancetta, with mozarella was a perfect beginning to the meal.  The texture was wonderful, mildly crisp, and the flavours outstanding. {Didn’t get a picture here as the platter was far too inviting!}. The  focaccia was sadly dry and tasteless,  nothing to write home about.

Insalata di barbabietole e formaggio caprinoNext came Insalata di barbabietole e formaggio caprino, an oven roasted beet and goat cheese salad with balsamic and argula. That had us scraping the platters clean. Excellent in every way, a fabulous blend of flavours and an endearing drizzle of balsamic over the salad! This salad had a winning touch to it … the colours, the textures, the creaminess of the goat cheese. This was my most favourite part of the meal, well almost {dessert always wins in the end}! The inclusion of arugula, a pungent, peppery salad green, continued throughout the meal, as the leaf is widely found in the Lombardy region.

nsalata di barbabietole e formaggio caprinoTime for the minestrone al risso, a classic minestrone soup with Parmesan and risotto. Risotto in the soup gives it regional character, arborio used quite a bit in the region as per the chef. There was plenty of vegetarian option in the menu put together by the chef, welcome for me as I prefer a vegetarian spread, even though I eat both. I found the higher use of polenta instead of flour in the cuisine strangely comforting and welcome.Lombardian promotion at ItaliaThe soup was followed by pizza con patate, pollo e gorgonzola, or pizza with potatoes, chicken and gorgonzola cheese. Took me right back to my one and only visit to Milan in the late 1980’s where we tasted our first authentic Italian pizza, and were totally blown away. The one at Italia was sans a pizza sauce, very light {almost too light for a main meal I would say}, a paper thin crust, almost like a popaddum, yet pleasantly satisfying. It had more a starter like feel to it.Lombardian promotion at ItaliaThe next 3 items came in small portions on a single platter {on special request to the chef} as the meal was now beginning to get filling already.  Even though the portions were small, after a while eating and tasting so much becomes laborious, and I wanted to do justice to the menu. We had risotto alla milanese, a classic saffron risotto, which I found a tad disappointing. No deep or outstanding saffron flavours in it. The tortellini alla bolognese, mince meat dumplings with Parmesan which I left for Mr PAB to do the honours as I was too full. The dumplings he said were very good, the sauce was just a regular creamy tomato one. I did sample the 3rd dish, ravioli de zucca, pumpkin ravioli in a butter walnut sauce, which offered a gentle mingling of flavours. This was one course I could have gladly skipped for the next.Lombardian promotion at ItaliaCotoletta alla milanese, breaded veal escalopes served with a spaghetti tomato basil sauce followed. This was excellent. The escalopes done just perfectly, with a great flavour combination. Very very enjoyable. On the platter too was pangasio al farno, or baked river sole with salsa verde and mustard potatoes. I am not much the fishy person, but Mr PAB enjoyed the flavour on the sole a lot. The third sampling on this platter was the malfatti ricotta e spinaci, ricotta cheese and spinach malfatti, which was very passable. I found it far too dense and low on taste. A good malfatti is amazing and addictive, even though the name might mean ‘poorly-made‘!Lombardian promotion at ItaliaThe chef had put together a selection of the menu, a total of 13 items and I do wish I had seen some mushroom on my selection;  I sorely missed that. The meal was lavish, course after course. Each course had a good selection on offer though the pressure of tasting so much was soon bearing down on me. In my humble opinion, I think the tasting menu might do better if it is trimmed down to a fewer items, and a lower cost perhaps. There is no way I could do justice to the huge selection on offer without feeling full.Lombardian promotion at ItaliaWe finished the meal with an indulgent dessert, one that was fabulous – panna cotta alla vaniglia e lamponi … an sublime & satisfying  vanilla bean panna cotta with raspberry sauce. Yes, it was wonderfully creamy {as heavy cream panna cottas always are}, not overbearingly sweet, perfectly complimented by the raspberry sauce. Thank you Italia and the Park Hotel Group for having me over to sample the menu.  I do wish I had a much larger appetite and could have sampled each item.

The event is on until the 6th of February 2011 at Italia, DLF Promenade, so do hurry over if you are in the New Delhi region.
Make sure you go with a big appetite!

Date: 21st Jan – 6th Feb 2011
Venue: ItALIa, 2nd floor, DLF Promenade
Timings: Lunch and Dinner
Average price for meal for two: Rs.2500+taxes (without alcohol)

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


  • 6 years ago

    What an amazing experience Deeba. So much food and so little time!!

  • 6 years ago

    Gorgeous food! A great experience.



  • 6 years ago

    Everything looks stunning, Deeba!

  • 6 years ago

    Beautiful and elegant food.
    Great clicks ♥

  • What a lot of food. It looks wonderful.

  • ft
    6 years ago

    hi deeba was just wondering if u were invited did u pay?? n by ne chance do u no why is sunita so dormant on her blog sunitas world…

  • 6 years ago

    That looks like fun!!!! I love any event that is centred around eating 😀
    *kisses* HH

  • 6 years ago

    Wow, I can’t believe such an authentically Italian restaurant is in New Delhi! I really need to take another trip to India – it has been too long.

    It looks delicious Deeba. I’m so glad you had a chance to experience this!

  • Krista
    6 years ago

    That panna cotta is to die for, Deeba. 🙂 And I love that quote at the beginning. I will never be a size zero, but boy am I happy with all the lovely things I get to eat, and the people I meet doing it. 🙂

  • 6 years ago

    Wow that looks exoctic.. the panna cotta truly tempting and to die for.. all other dishes are beautiful .. Thanks for sharing Deeba.

  • What an extraordinary meal, and how wonderful that there were so many vegetarian options, that is often rare in restaurants.

  • 6 years ago

    Brilliant review Deeba, I know what you mean about tasting your way through the entire menu like that…… bring on the tasting plates people 🙂 I have so much respect for food critics that manage to consume 3 or 4 courses of rich decadent foods several times a week 🙂 The food really does sound wonderful though & in typical Deeba fashion….., images are wonderful too.

  • 6 years ago

    Sounds like a wonderful experience…I love have smaller size portions to enable exploration of varied dishes. Too bad about the malfatti though, agree can be quite lovely 🙂

  • 4 years ago

    There are a huge number of people who are big fan of several kinds of Italian dishes and I’m also one of them. I hope your experience with the simple dishes was also pleasant. Thanks!

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