From catering to bistro, the idea comes from three young women who trained at the Michelin-star restaurant Joia
A love of nature, ethics, professionalism and distinguished elegance. These are just some of the features that make Altatto stand out as one of the most interesting new realities in Italy offering vegan and vegetarian dishes. The creators of this catering service based in Milan, founded five years ago and which has now added Altatto, Bistrot and Al Baretto to its list, are Sara Nicolosi, Cinzia De Lauri and Giulia Scialanga. The three, now young women just over thirty years old, are determined and intimately convinced that nature can express a constellation of flavours and a palette of colours that can offer original gourmet experiences to satisfy the senses.
After studying in the context of ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine in Colorno, the three met and established a solid friendship working in the kitchens of Pietro Leemann’s Joia in Milan, the first European restaurant offering fine vegetarian cuisine to win a Michelin star. This experience clearly left its mark on Sara, Cinzia and Giulia, who at a certain point decided to found their own business.
The idea was to create a high-end catering service for important events and customers who love and prefer vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
Taste and beauty have then guided them in their adventure that continues to be enormously succesful: Altatto has clients of the calibre of Armani, Artemide, Dior, Fendi and Hermès, to name just a few.
«We offer a gourmet experience that begins with our respect for the earth – explain the three partners – but also for craftsmanship and working by hand, for the seasons and the products of our territory. The secret lies in the amazing variety of tastes, colours and textures that nature offers». In addition to the catering service, to which they soon added activities such as organizing private dinners and cooking classes, for the past year the three cooks have dedicated their efforts to Altatto Bistrot. Here, with the help of Caterina Perazzi (who also had experience at Pietro Leemann’s Joia) decided to expand their offer by opening an innovative location driven by their desire to express their personal talent: a fine restaurant.
«When we crossed the threshold of the bistro – they say – we asked ourselves how we would convey our message: materials and spaces had to convey an original idea of hospitality, to design a place we could completely identify with». That is why they decided to involve Giulia Mogno, a specialist in interior architecture and a close friend who interpreted their ideas to the letter. They wanted a welcoming space, warm and essential at the same time, that would dialogue with their idea of cuisine. And so, for example, the materials they used are as natural as possible, such as raw earth on the walls and panels made from recycled fibres. The tables, conceived by the blacksmith Alise Sicuri as a shared space, are finished with viroc, an element consisting of a mixture of wood particles and concrete with a surface that is similar to a blackboard, on which they can write the names of their guests with chalk.
Altatto Bistrot is located inside the workshop that Sara, Cinzia and Giulia found four years ago for their catering services: a former abandoned bakery in a classic traditional Milan apartment building. It is located in the Greco district, which captured the trio from the start because of its working class character, and because it was a frontier zone, with interaction between different cultures. And in fact, «cultural cross-fertilization and the capacity for inclusion – they explain – are two fundamental aspects of our vision and our lifestyle: we wish to be a creative workshop that can welcome people and make us feel welcome».
The dishes are created on the basis of local seasonal ingredients. The menu is constantly changing, to avoid wasting food too, an issues which is very important to them. They do not adhere to the traditional classification that divides dishes into appetizers, first courses, second courses and desserts. The menu on the contrary is organized into a selection of tastes, cooking techniques and textures. The ingredients are almost always Italian, except for some gourmet foods they discovered in their travels around the world. They start with bread, which they fill with whatever the customer desires, always making it different to balance the different flavours and ingredients. Altatto’s most recent venture is Al Baretto, a temporary oasis where one can enjoy a summer aperitif right next door to the bistro.
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translation by Olga Barmine