Campagnolo Vancouver: essential Italian comfort food
So… I fell off the wagon. And I’d been doing so well. I’ve stuck rigidly to Canadian-only wines (yes, Canada has great wines!) since I arrived in Vancouver in September and this week I fell face-first into a crisp Italian Soave. Oops. I wanted to soak up (hic) all those amazing new varietals from the Okanagan and confining myself to a strict BC-only wine list seemed to be the best (and most delicious) way to get a crash course in How To Drink Like A Canadian. So far I have discovered that:
– I adore Joie’s ‘Noble Blend’ but I often can’t find it/afford it
– When I want a cheap-ish bottle, Jackson Triggs is usually on special at the local wine shop and does the job
– Tinhorn Creek do some of the (few) reds that I genuinely love
– Wineries like ‘Wine O’Clock’ and ‘See Ya Later Ranch’ which have silly names make seriously good wine
– That (sorry!) I haven’t yet found one sparkling BC wine that I like (I have a get-out clause when it comes to drinking champagne and cava and no, I am not going to outline my reasons as they are ill-thought-out at best, so shhh!)
And I’m only five months in. So much more to discover! But then I went to Campagnolo and everything kind of slipped away…. I blame Katharine. I was having lunch with her and – bad behaviour-enabler that she so clearly is – when we pondered the possibility of matching Italian food to Italian grapes, all my good intentions slipped away. Before I knew it I found myself with a glass of Bertani, a silly grin on my face and a mountain of food in front of me.
I’ve been on such a seafood-eating trip since I arrived that I’ve barely tried any Italian food in Vancouver. In fact I fear I may becoming part-seal. But oh! I have missed Italian and they do it particularly well at Campagnolo. A salad of charred octopus along with a dish of crispy deep-fried ceci (chickpeas) spangled with mint and chilli made me realise I was in for a treat but nothing could have alerted me to the jaw-clanging brilliance of the pork ragu tagliatelle. A densely-flavourful sauce that spoke of long hours simmering on a stove, thick with ground pork and absurdly buttery, was sopped up by an eggy delicate home-made pasta. It was absolutely brilliant. We tried a few other things, but I couldn’t stop my fork snaking across the table mid-chew of something else, to get just one (more) last buttery meaty mouthful.
The pizza crust was a trifle too thin for me but the cauliflower and sprout leaf topping was inspired. All garlicy and salty, it paired with the Soave perfectly. After I regretfully scooped up the last of the ragu sauce with a pizza crust and talked myself out of licking the plate, I discovered my new favourite dessert; a butter tart studded with toasted pine nuts, served with a splash of sweet milk. I think I’ve found my go-to comfort food restaurant. I can’t imagine any situation that won’t be immediately better after eating here.
Upstairs, I’m told, they take delivery each week of two pigs, butcher them, and use everything in their creations that week. Charcuterie, sausages, and yes – that amazing ragu. Love this place. Food that’s good from nose to tail and definitely worth falling off the wagon for.
Thanks to Campagnolo for hosting me – as always, my views are 100% my own.