Arte & Farina you truly impressed us, we felt like we were back in Italy, at a tiny local bakery. Like in Italy, Arte & Farina uses the freshest ingredients prepared simply in that quintessential Italian fashion so that each bite has a different dimension of flavour. The Italian chefs that we met spoke in both English and French but with a distinct Italian accent that added to the experience.
The place is tiny, you take your focaccia, panino, dessert or simply a snack to go, but you love it and you’ll probably devour it by the time you’re at your door. With crisp and flavourful grissini teasing you on the counter, and whole desserts to either take home or to someone’s house, the little bakery is busy and full of delicious aromas.
The first thing we tried was a fried potato stuffed with an Italian ragout called a suppli. The outside was crispy, the potatoes within tender and the Italian ragout was meaty and well spiced in the center of this canapé. A dollop of basil pesto lay on top of this Italian treat which made it fresher and a touch more moist because of the extra virgin olive oil.
The ricotta mousse was a favourite of Diva #1’s. Ricotta can be runny but this mousse was stiff and cheesy, it was absolutely delicious. Flecks of pepper added a nice bite to the ricotta mousse on top of a crispy focaccia crostini that wasn’t soggy under the weight of the mousse. Tomato confit and some more of that flavourful basil pesto added another dimension of flavour to this canapé, we ate more than one, just to make sure that we weren’t exaggerating how much we loved it!
One of the chefs explained to us that in Italy, kids come home from school and enjoy a tramezzino as a snack. Also popular in Italian coffee shops and bars, it’s an inexpensive snack that’s usually made up of tuna or prosciutto with varied ingredients in between slices of white bread with the crusts removed. At Arte & Farina their tramezzino sandwiches were rolled up with prosciutto, eggplant and more of that basil pesto that we adored. If this is what snack time in Italy is like, count us in!
And then heaven came out of the open kitchen, in the form of creamy burrata on the most delicious focaccia. This little bite of pizza was topped with crushed tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil with basil. It tasted like bruschetta but lighter due to the lack of onions. It was our favourite of the two pizzas.
Our second Roman style pizza was also on focaccia with artichokes confit, carciofi alla giudia, which is essentially a deep fried artichoke. This style of preparing artichokes is common in Roman Jewish cuisine in Italy. They traditionally use Romanesco artichokes and at Arte & Farina they added a variety of sheep’s cheese, fromage de brebis, that is collected from ewes. This Italian bakery used brebis rousse d’Argental, from the Argental region of France, it’s a soft / semi soft cheese with an earthy taste.
More kept coming out of the little kitchen, we truly tried a bit of everything. Tuscan San Daniele prosciutto, aged 24 months, topped more focaccia with a Rigatino tomato confit made with sun dried tomatoes. A dollop of pickled olives lay under the prosciutto and added a textural element and dimension of flavour. These black olives were Taggiasca olives, typically used to make olive oil, but at Arte & Farina they were in a salty vinegary brine.
And then the desserts started coming out starting with a frittelle de Venezia, which is a typical carnival cake found in Venice. Similar to a bombolone, which is an Italian doughnut, the frittelle de Venezia at Arte & Farina were fried balls of dough with a chocolate center that had a hint of orange. The filling was simply bursting out of its sweet bun.
A Southern Italian lemon cake cut into little squares was another treat at Arte & Farina. Absolute perfection with a cappuccino. But our favourite dessert of the evening was the simple bombolone without any filling at all that came warm and covered in sugar from the kitchen. It was perfection in its simplicity, it was just fried dough, but we were soon licking the remaining crystals of sugar off of our fingertips.
Arte & Farina, we felt like we were back in Rome with a quick trip to Venice for dessert. We only wish that you had more seats so that we could come with friends and lounge around eating, like we did as tourists in Italy. If all this food wasn’t enough, we left with a Colomba di Pasqua, a traditional Italian Easter cake similar, but not identical to a panettone. The Colomba was stuffed with orange peel and candied lemon from Calabria, with an almond crust. They take 72 hours to prepare, and they’re made by hand. Just one of the many Italian delicacies that you can find at Arte & Farina.
Our Rating: Always on Thursday
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