THE FRESH TASTE OF ITALY
Award-winning restaurateurs Maurizio and Cinzia Bocchi combine fresh local Lancashire produce with authentic Italian delicacies sourced in their native Italy
When you visit the Ribble Valley, a trip to the nationally renowned Italian restaurant La Locanda in Gisburn, is an opportunity not to be missed!
Cinzia and Maurizio Bocchi have brought a piece of Italy to this pretty village restaurant and their passion is to create authentic and traditional Italian dishes sourcing and using the freshest local Lancashire produce alongside personally chosen ingredients from various regions of Italy.
This quest to use local producers while remaining true to their Italian roots has been a huge success with La Locanda winning many accolades.
It is a decade since the restaurant was awarded the influential Marchio Ospitalita Italiana – the official certification of Italian authenticity and La Locanda has been named as one of only 67 restaurants in the UK to receive the certification for its respect for traditional Italian cuisine. Being one of the UK’s most decorated Italian restaurant outside of London, La Locanda was one of just 15 worldwide finalist in the VII edition of the Award Ospitalita’ Italiana nel Mondo.
The awards are largely down to chef patron Maurizio’s love and passion for using only the best quality ingredients from their homeland and sourcing fresh produce from Lancashire ensuring zero miles provenance and true authenticity.
Among the ingredients diners will find Lancashire Crossmoor honey, the freshest organic meat from Gazegill just up the road and seasonal game from West Marton neighbour, Ian Scott, a third generation game supplier.
Whatever we ask for, they can supply,” says agri-chef Maurizio. “Many of our suppliers become good friends. I think it’s fantastic that we can source beautiful ingredients so close to home. Our suppliers know their job inside out.”
Sourcing and using Lancashire produce is just as vital to Cinzia and Maurizio as the produce they seek out on their frequent trips to Italy.
It is this passion for using authentic Italian produce and commitment to excellence that led La Locanda to be selected by Italy’s Ministero Delle Politiche Agricole, to take part in a project to promote and bring the best extra virgin olive oil to the UK.
The couple have also hosted a hugely successful Extra Virgin Olive Oil Conference, which attracted industry experts from all over the UK and Italy, and La Locanda now has some of the best olive oils in the world for customers to try and buy.
Cinzia, adds: “The olive oils that please most palates are medium to fruity and we have chosen the ones we like and the ones we think our customers will enjoy. Being able to offer these authentic products and flavours to our customers is a big honour.
“All around us we have fantastic local producers, which we use here at La Locanda on a regular basis. We also have world class extra virgin olive oil and are combining the two, giving guests the opportunity to learn what makes local Lancashire and Italian produce unique,” explains Cinzia.
For Cinzia and Maurizio the collaboration with local producers in Italy and in the Ribble Valley, is at the heart La Locanda, which attracts diners from all over the UK.
Only recently Maurizio embarked on a trip to Modena in northern Italy which saw him return to his roots and re-trace the steps of his childhood to discover some traditional family Italian recipes: “My parents were from Modena and everywhere I went, when I mentioned my family, doors were opened. It was fantastic to go back to my homeland to see the people and the places. I have come back with lots of ideas.”
Maurizio returned full of enthusiasm for this renowned region that is famed for its balsamic vinegar aged for at least 25 years to achieve optimum flavour to produce world class tradizionale balsamic.
So if you are visiting the area this summer, take a trip to La Locanda and meet Cinzia and Maurizio.
The authenticity of their cuisine is also replicated in the surroundings at this quaint and cosy Italian restaurant – take a trip to Gisburn and enjoy a little slice of Italy!
Main Street, Gisburn BB7 4HH