Three names, all synonymous to the phrase, “a fantastic fine dining experience.”
After the success of Osteria Francescana—a three-Michelin star, 12-table destination dining that ranked highly in the world’s best restaurants—world-renown Chef Massimo Bottura dives into another venture. This one, however, extends the experience from a deliriously delicious dinner, into a memorable stay in an Italian country home, 15 minutes away from the gourmand city of Modena.
The hideaway is called Casa Maria Luigia, a blushing estate owned by Bottura and his wife, Lara Gilmore. The peach-hued 18th-century mansion is tucked away in the pastoral farmlands, surrounded by poplar trees that create a serene, semi-isolated escape. As the car rolls up in the driveway, expect the cordial greeting from the staff that whisks every visitor away in the parlour; take this time to admire the contemporary interiors that wed with Bottura’s eccentric flair. Then, head up to the guestrooms—there are 12, by the way, all lavishly styled with vintage nostalgia and fine art, each different from the other. The best views? By the lush garden.
One may miss booking a seat at the highly-demanded Francescana, but a stay at Casa Maria Luigia brings the same dining delight—maybe even better. Dinner starts at 7:30. Guests find their way into the grand dining embellished with many of Damien Hirst’s art. Nine courses are served, each glimmering with Bottura’s epicurean wisdom, and guests are allowed to chat, interact, and even take photos. Dive into the pairing of oyster and eel, relish the homecooked lasagne, and then indulge in their Parmigiana-Reggiano offering in the form of a mellow mousse and wafer.
The best part? Look forward to the breakfast. Wake up to a sumptuous spread of cuisines from Emilia-Romagna, with gnoccofritto at the centre, adorned with ricotta; or a roasted sausage called cotechino topped on an almond biscuit. Some lucky few may also get to indulge in a hearty conversation with Gilmore, one of the owners of the house. casamarialuigia.com ◼
© This article was first published in Oct-Nov 2019 edition of World Travel Magazine.