Christmas Food Q&A: Philip Contini – Valvona & Crolla

Valvona & Crolla's head honcho discusses his favourite seasonal treats

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Christmas Food Q&A: Philip Contini – Valvona & Crolla

credit: Caitlin Cooke

I'm planning a Christmas meal and want to offer a couple of unusual twists. What would you suggest?

A panettone warmed in the oven and served with homemade crème Anglaise (or thin custard), with a bottle of ice-cold, slightly fizzy Moscato d’Asti.

It's Boxing Day and I've got half a turkey uneaten. Any recommendations for some legendary leftovers?

Don’t buy turkey, create a new tradition and buy a Linda Dick free-range, high-quality, really tasty chicken. There will not be a scrap left over, it is so good!

Which dishes on your Christmas/December menu do you most like cooking? And which least?

We love making a huge ashet of homemade egg tagliatelle with homemade sausage and tomato sugo. We do NOT like cooking on Boxing Day!

What do you reckon is the most undervalued ingredient in the seasonal/Christmas repertoire?

Good sea salt. To our palate it really makes a huge difference to the flavour of your cooking with a delicious, complex saltiness but without the bitterness of commercial salt.

I fancy giving food items for presents at Christmas. Any suggestions?

Ben Ryé Sicilian dessert wine. Probably in the top-five dessert wines of all time! At more than £30 for a half bottle it ain’t cheap but because you only need to sip and savour the delicious flavours it goes a long way.

Which new kitchen gadget would you most like to find in your stocking? And which food item?

We would really love a new corkscrew because, at home, ours has worn really thin. Food item: freshly made Sicilian Marzipan fruits are just divine (available from all leading Italian delis on Elm Row.)

Valvona & Crolla

19 Elm Row, Edinburgh, EH7 4AA

This award-winning specialist Italian grocer, wine merchant and café bar has legendary status in the capital, if not the country as a whole. Its extremely loyal clientele may vary from the cream of Edinburgh society to students (normally with visiting…

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar

19 Elm Row, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH7 4AA

This pillar of Edinburgh's food establishment turns the finest fresh ingredients into a deliciously broad menu of bold Italian flavours.

Valvona & Crolla Ristorante

11 Multrees Walk, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ

City-centre lunch spot serving high-end cuisine and a remarkable selection of wines by the glass.

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