Three years ago, Alessandra De Leonardis, an Italian expat, took a brave decision that few would have done at the time. She left her comfortable staff job and opened her own business – Vini & Sapori -a restaurant and shop selling Italian artisan products.
It was a high-risk move, not in the least since it came during the fall-out from the crippling economic crisis, but because the potential danger of “going it alone” increased from the devastating terrorist attacks in Brussels in March 2016 – as they were close to where her business is located.
The double-whammy could, and did, see off many established businesses in the area. Luckily, Alessandra’s business not only survived but expanded. The Italian food products shop tucked away in an indoor shopping gallery now boasts a small restaurant area where you can sample some of the wonderful produce they have to offer – both food and wines.
The shop itself sells a good range of artisan products, from cheese and olive oil to quite delicious Italian hams. A good proportion of them originates from Abruzzo, the region in central Italy where Alessandra grew up. She knows the region intimately and has an understandable trust for the quality of the many products it produces.
It is for that reason that you will find so many of Abruzzo’s wonderful produce on sale in the shop and also now on the menu of her lovely restaurant. One such product is Bastoncini, which are biscuits more commonly associated with Tuscany but have their origins in Abruzzo; 75 percent of which is in a national park. These are delicious dipped in white wine.
Speaking of wines, they have another of the region’s best-known products: Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, a terrific red wine from the Santoleri vineyard. This is one of the best wineries in Abruzzo and it’s not difficult to see why. The 2000 vintage is wonderfully flavoursome and very tasty. It’s available in the restaurant and is also for sale in the shop.
Vini & Sapori’s masterpiece is the spaghetti al Tartufo. “My region, Abruzzo, is known for the quality of its truffles. It’s indeed part of our business card. Our clients love our spaghetti al Tartufo. We have it on the menu every day.” explains Alessandra.
Tasting the Tartufo from the Abruzzo region 🇮🇹 🇮🇹Spaghetti do tartufo is one Vini&Sapori’s masterpiece 👌😁 #foodie #food #foodporn #italianfood #italian #tartufo #tartufonero #abruzzo #BrusselsExpress #welovebrussels #Brussels #Bruxelles #Brussel #Belgium #Belgie #Belgique #photography #visitbrussels #bxlove #brüssel #bruxelas #seemybrussels #bxlmabelle #Brisel #Bruksela #Bruselas #brusel #Bryssel #Brüksel
The decision Alessandra took about three years ago to take the plunge and launch her own business was very brave. The good news is that judging by the growing popularity of Vini & Sapori that decision was spot on! If you have not discovered this place yet do so – it is the real deal.
Good to know:
- Address – 39b, Passage de Linthout – 1200 – Brussels
- Telephone: 02 736 9569