how to cook (contemporary) in a monument – Italian Cuisine


A restaurant with 170 years of activity, a magical place like Ranco on Lake Maggiore, an international clientele. It is not easy to renew itself in continuity, but it is obligatory: here's how the chef-patron of Il Sole di Ranco carries on (well) the story

The Italy of food is full of monuments with virtually identical stories, if you look to the past, but many different if you look at the present: there are missing restaurants, places that have totally changed nature and places that not only succeed hold on, But in some cases even to improve. Il Sole di Ranco, in the charming town (Ranco, in fact) on the Lombard shore of Lake Maggiore, belongs to the last category: very close to the 170 years of activity, it remains one of the best restaurants in the Verbano and destination of a loyal clientele, which was renewed in the last period. Merit of Davide Brovelli, talented chef-patron, and his wife Cristina following the room: this year, to concentrate further on Il Sole di Ranco, they closed the (lucky) adventure of Bugandé, the bistro within Maison Borella which is a boutique hotel on the Naviglio Grande. "It was three beautiful seasons that taught us a lot," explains Brovelli, "but we realized the impossibility of following both places with the same dedication. And so now we are working to further improve the level of the parent company

A success story

Il Sole di Ranco has an important history. Ranco in 1850 it had few houses and a small church, but it was one of the favorite destinations of the Milanese aristocracy, attracted by the beauty of the places and by hunting and fishing trips. Guests arrived with carriages pulled by pairs of horses and found refreshment and lodging at the inn Il Sole, a name that derives from the happy location in front of the lake, in the midst of greenery and the silence of the large garden, always flooded with light. The seven rooms were then curated by Grandma Brovelli. Summer, under the cool pergola, you could taste the specialties of the place. Until 1950 Il Sole di Ranco was a restaurant with no particular ambitions, but with Carlo Brovelli it became a gourmet destination: taking over from his father, at the end of a long period in the best restaurants and hotels in Switzerland, France and Germany, he made the cuisine refined and well-kept in the preparation of food and in the aesthetic aspect of the courses. Next to Carlo, his wife Itala, fundamental in the development of the restaurant and the hotel.

Millefeuille of formaggella and salmon trout
Millefeuille of formaggella and salmon trout.

He is a master of lake fish

Davide, son of Carlo and Italy, took over the mechanism in 2000 giving his personality to the kitchen, without ever losing the thread. He loves tradition, increasingly uses the products of a territory richer than you think. He is a master of lake fish, to which he has dedicated books. He has known him since he was a child and has a small network of fishermen who unload him a few meters from the kitchen: the best in quality. That is why, beyond the paper proposals, it always makes sense to ask for the proposals of the day related to the fish of the Verbano (lavarello, persico, lucioperca …). Brovelli knows how to space well at 360 °: Vitello tonnato and Carpaccio of scampi, air of bisque, mint and lemon balm; Carbonara ravioli, crunchy pancetta from Val Formazza and Tagliolini with mullet and lime bottarga; Sea bass cooked in clay with cocoa powder, frozen mustard and Cassis caramelized pigeon and mulled wine grapes; the timeless Peaches of Monate, amaretto semifreddo and pumpkin with spices, orange and bitter chocolate, bergamot ice cream. Lots of France in the technique, lots of Italy in taste. And a great desire to share his knowledge: in fact Davide Brovelli is also a chef for La Cucina Italiana e teacher at cooking classes of The School of Italian Cuisine.

The dreamy pergola

The outline, so to speak, has been entrusted to a cult venue for decades: elegant inside, with a series of very cozy and suggestive rooms, it becomes splendid when it is set under the arbor: you can see almost all of Verbano, sunset is an absolutely advisable moment to enjoy before dinner. If you don't want to fish from the card, there are surprise tastings (100 Euros) and Ranco (50 Euros), excellent and worth the second bonus. The cellar is always at the height, with the best of Italy and several important cues from France. The service is young, but precise, with the smile of someone who works in a great place. You are wrong.

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