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I love discovering great local restaurants so close to home. Although I can’t really take credit for ‘discovering’ La Lanterna… When we first moved here, Richard and I figured, our local Fruit & Vegetable man (whom I will write about in another blog!) MUST know good restaurants in the area, and sure enough he did, and recommended some great places. This was one of the places he recommend (he supplies their vegetables and fruits), and the one that we have returned to most often and introduced to many other friends who live in this region.

La Lanterna is a small restaurant located in Valsolda, Italy, which is right across the border from Lugano, Switzerland. When driving past you probably won’t even notice it, or may not think anything of it even if you do see it. What a nice pleasant surprise when you actually stop and go in. You sense something special as soon as you walk in, the place is nicely decorated with a touch of lavender all over. You can see that they really care for every detail. You sit down and they bring you a beautiful bread basket (my total weakness!), with different types of homemade breads inside.. They also bring you a chef’s amuse bouche which always looks beautiful but tastes amazing too. All of the food at La Lanterna is like this. Beautifully presented but doesn’t disappoint with the taste as well.

Whenever we have taken guests , they have all loved the place, no matter where in the world they are from. And that includes my dad, who is one of the harshest judges - he absolutely loved the restaurant! It helped that Soraya slept through the whole meal and Gaja behaved throughout the meal, which allowed us adults to relax and enjoy an amazing 3 course meal.

Pamela and Pascuale are the people behind La Lanterna. Before I did the Q&A, I wasn’t even aware that Pascuale had previously worked at Le Darsene di Loppia , a restaurant in Bellagio I wrote about a few weeks ago. That together with the fact that Pamela trained with Nobu, one of my favourite chefs! It was bound to be a match made in heaven! Here is my Q&A with them (translated from Italian):

Q: Before this venture, where did you both work and gain your experience?
We both worked around Europe. Pamela worked at Nobu and Harry’s Bar in London, Ristorante La Romantica in Paris, Mathis a Corviglia, Palù, Sport Hotel in Saint Moritz, Wolfsburg da Fhaeno in Germany and Hotel Stella D’Italia in Valsolda, Italy. Pasquale worked in Venice at Hotel Bauer 5*L, Hotel Spaltenna in Tuscany, Ristorante Vivezza in London, Ristorante La Romantica in Paris, Hotel La Perla 5* in Trentino Alto Adige and Ristorante Le Darsene di Loppia in Lake Como.

Q: What inspired you to open your own restaurant?

What inspired us to open our restaurant, was the desire to put into practice all our experience gained over the years of working in the kitchens around Europe.

Q: What type of food have you chosen for your restaurant?
Our cuisine is based on our regional origin, which is Lombardia for Pamela and Puglia for Pasquale. We base our menu around the seasonal products available.

Q: What would be your ideal ‘last supper’?
Pamela - My 'last supper' would be in a green meadow with a big elegant table, in the company of my closest friends. The food would all be cooked by me.(bread, love and fantasy). and good wine flowing like water.
Pascuale - My ideal ‘last supper’ - I hope to be invited to the table of Pamela!!!

For anyone living in the area, or living in Lugano, I would highly recommend this restaurant!

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La Lanterna
Via Gasparino Finali, 1
22010 Cressogno - Valsolda (CO) Italy
Tel: +39 0344 69014
http://www.osterialalanterna.it