Celebrating Italians – their wine & food in Nelson

If you have read some of my previous blogs, you’ll be aware that Marion and I spent 10 wonderful days Bigin Italy back in April 2015. On our travels we were graciously hosted by representatives of Farnese Vini. Firstly it was the Vesevo winemaker, Simone, in Taurasi, Campania. Secondly by Stenia, Farnese export manager in Ortona, Abruzzo. Now some of those wines we tasted with them, you can enjoy with delicious Italian food, at ‘babagatto’ in Nelson’s Morri (aka Morrison) Square. Babagatto, as you can see in the photo here, is referred to as a


‘tavola calda’. One definition I found reads:” A very informal eatery where you usually choose from a pre-prepared selection of hot dishes. Great for a quick, light meal.” Most dishes here are $10 to $15.

Babagatto is run by 2 lovely Italian couples – Raf (Raffaello) & Roberta and Gianluca & Elisabetta. Much of what you eat here is hand-made, incl. some of the cheese. A good start for me is always the superb bruschetta on home-made bread. There are a few excellent seafood salad choices, then potato gnocchi with different sauces. I won’t list everything here, but will mention that there are several ‘gluten-free’ options incl. both lasagna variations.

At present the opening hours are: Mon – Sat. 11am – 2.30pm then 5pm – 9.30pm.

Now the wines. Many are supplied by Auckland-based importers, A Touch of Italy. Very popular right 2015-10-01 10.43.19now is the Farnese Fantini Sangiovese. Other reliable reds to choose from (when available) inc. Montepulciano D’Abruzzo,  Primitivo & Aglianico. Locals are now starting to appreciate the whites, such as the Vesevo Beneventano Falanghina. This wine rated No.1 in a tasting of falanghinas by the NY Times recently. Now read here what English wine blogger Anna, on the ‘Rude Wines Blog’ had to say about this superb blended white, which has now been added to the Babagatto wine list. It’s the Pipoli Greco Fiano from Basilicata.

Buon Appetito