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Italian surprise at Bacco 36

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Last week, I promised my editor-in-chief and dear friend Ana that my next post would be about the best places to eat ice cream in Leipzig. I told her how I developed my methodology in order to compare the different ice creams that I ate and raised her expectations quite high. The thing is that (and you will know it if you live in Leipzig), lately the weather hasn’t been very summer-like.

Still, despite the less-than-ideal temperatures to eat ice cream, I went out last weekend intending to try the different places I had spotted. So, my husband Harald and I got into the car and drove toward Waldstraße to go to La Chocolaterie, the first place on my list. We parked the car and started walking along Waldstraße, not really sure about the direction of the place, when suddenly it started raining. A lot.

We took refuge under the tent of what looked from the outside like an Italian delicacy shop. I had a closer look at the menu, and suggested we go in.

So what was supposed to be a post about ice cream ended up transforming itself into a post about this nice Italian shop/restaurant, Bacco 36. I hope that by letting Ana know where she can find good Italian food in Leipzig, she will forgive the fact that I did not deliver the piece we had agreed on. (Editor’s note: She has been forgiven.)

Counter at Bacco 36, Leipzig. Photo by A. Köpping.
Counter at Bacco 36, Leipzig. Photo by A. Köpping.

I think it is something of an Italian thing to have small deli shops combined with some kind of restaurant and café. Bacco 36 certainly fits that category. Whether you want to eat lunch or have a quick coffee or buy some nice Italian pasta or wine, the place is ideal. I had a light lunch, the antipasti plate, and Harald a cold coffee. The place can accommodate around 15 people and I really appreciated the mix between restaurant and shop. The large counter in the middle of the shop, full of delicious items, is bound to make you crave some food. And I guess because it is on Waldstraße, it has something a bit bourgeois about it, with the average age of the clientele being more in the mid-forties. But it was a nice change, I have to admit.

The menu is quite small, with antipasti, some salad and some pasta dishes that I assume change quite often because they were only on the blackboard. I don’t really have antipasti often because you never know what will come out on your plate. But I decided to go for it this time and was positively surprised. It was a mix of grilled vegetables with stuffed aubergines and an Italian omelet. The nice thing about it is that you can ask for some items not to be included in your dish. For example, I don’t like olives; or maybe you’d want a vegetarian plate.

I also had a look at the products they sell and it ranges from pasta to biscuits, without forgetting wine and olive oils, and pestos. They also have an interesting selection of cheeses and cured meat.

Alex's antipasti plate. Photo by A. Köpping.
Alex’s antipasti plate. Photo by A. Köpping.

When the rain stopped and I’d finished eating my food, we went out for a walk and finally managed to go to La Chocolaterie. I just wanted to have a look but I couldn’t resist getting some nice desserts, as it is mainly a French bakery. I had a nice chocolate fondant and a piece of tarte au pommes to go. I spoke French, which felt weird but nice at the same time. I don’t get to speak French (my mother tongue) since I moved to Leipzig. It was also interesting because I felt some of the clients were also French, but I didn’t stay long enough to see if this place is a hangout for the French-speaking community of Leipzig.

We left the shop with our delicious treat that did not survive long enough to be photographed. Sorry. (Editor’s note: And no ice cream, either.) 

I have to say the Waldstraße neighborhood was a quite pleasant surprise altogether. We walked around, there were several shops (from flowers to glasses). It was really a nice way to spend our Saturday afternoon… or maybe I’ve become too bourgeois?

"Good food makes good people". In her column, Alexandra will present the culinary diversity that exists in Leipzig by discovering new and exciting places to eat. She will also present the family recipes from people who live in Leipzig, as a way to show the cultural diversity that exists in this city.

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