Flavour Profile Q&A: Mary Contini of Valvona & Crolla reveals her foodie hates and best memories

Cafe owner and author Mary Contini, of Valvona & Crolla, reveals her foodie loves and hates.

What’s your favourite ingredient?

V&C Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fior Fiore. I use it by the gallon.

Tell us about your first food memory?

Sitting round a large wooden table in my mother’s kitchen, aged four years old. I remember the excitement I felt when my older brother and sister, Cesidio and Anita, were whisked away to go back to school. I don’t remember what was left on their plates, but I have a visceral memory of the delight in reaching out to finish what was left – knowing me, it must have been ice cream.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe (apart from your own)?

I visit the Gosford Bothy Farm Shop in Aberlady every week. Bob has the best selection of Scotch beef, Gosford wild boar, homemade steak pies, chicken liver pate, local vegetables, and his own free-range eggs – everything I love. Please don’t visit because there’s always a queue.

What would be your last supper?

Mary Contini at Valvona & CrollaMary Contini at Valvona & Crolla
Mary Contini at Valvona & Crolla

It would have to be a lunch – why wait for supper? I’d be cooking with my grandchildren, Alfie and Flo, and my family, Philip, Francesca and Eoghan, and Olivia – every extended family member and friends would be around the table.

We’d eat old favourites. Antipasto plates all along the table. Carciofi, melanzane, fagioli, spinache, then a huge ashet of home-made tagliarini with oxtail sugo, roast suckling pig and a Luca’s van of ice cream. We’d drink V&C Prosecco, V&C Vermentino and all the bottles of red wine hidden away at the back of Philip’s cellar.

Starter or pudding?

Used to be pudding, but age dictates a starter.

Trattoria AltanellaTrattoria Altanella
Trattoria Altanella

Do you have any food hates?

Risotto as a side. Why?

What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party?

So I’d be in Venice – preferably in Trattoria Altanella on Guidecca. We’d have carciofi alla guidia, a small plate of gnocchi with oxtail sugo and then fegato alla Venezia or fritto misto. Dessert would be their amazing vanilla gelato doused in raisins soaked in grappa.

Gosford Bothy BreadGosford Bothy Bread
Gosford Bothy Bread

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

Need you ask?

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.