Old and famous Italian deli branches out
SEVENTY years of Edinburgh history are marked this week as one of Scotland’s finest delicatessens expands to reach a new market of local customers and tourists.
Valvona & Crolla, the capital institution at the top of Leith Walk, has opened a new city-centre caf bar this week. VinCaff, in a 100,000-a-year space, rubs shoulders with the likes of Emporio Armani and Calvin Klein on the new Multrees Walk development.
The shop will be run by Francesca Contini, 24, the daughter of Mary and Philip Contini, who has given up a potential medical career to continue the family delicatessen dynasty.
She said VinCaff would offer its customers the Italian experience of a morning espresso on its ground level, as well as fine dining and wines in its first floor restaurant. "People in Edinburgh are now used to grabbing a Starbucks coffee on the way to work, but we hope they will drop in for an espresso or caffeine hit as the Italians do.
"In the summer we will have seating outside, which should be popular given the shops around us. There is also a Cruvinet machine which puts nitrogen in opened bottles of wine. This means diners can sample a glass of Italian greats that usually sell for 150 a bottle for 27 a glass. As well as a 90-seater restaurant, there is a private dining room and wine store for smaller groups."
Valvona & Crolla is Scotland’s longest established independent family specialist food shop and wine merchant, run by the descendants of the founders. Benedetto Valvona, an immigrant from the Cassino area in central Italy, started selling Italian food and wine in the Old Town in the 1890s. He handed over to his son, Raffaele Valvona.
When Alfonso Crolla, grandfather of the current management, joined the business in 1934, Valvona & Crolla was established at its present Elm Row address on the edge of Edinburgh’s New Town.
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