The roaring Leone Felice

In Franciacorta, finding out the new path taken by the Albereta. At the helm, young Apulian Fabio Abbattista

by Annalisa Cavaleri
Fabio Abbattista, 37 from Apulia, with a long expe

Fabio Abbattista, 37 from Apulia, with a long experience next to Heinz Beck, Alain Ducasse and Michel Roux. He’s the new-face of Leone Felice, the new restaurant of the Albereta in Erbusco (Brescia), which ended the twenty-year parenthesis with Gualtiero Marchesi. Tel. +39.030.7762603, closed on Sunday and Monday

Fresh air at the Albereta, the resort in the heart of Franciacorta that for twenty years was Gualtiero Marchesi’s temple of taste. Today, the “home” of the Moretti family (Bellavista wine and much more) reinvents itself and opens not only to gourmands but also to a younger and more international clientele. The gastronomic offer is now available all day long: breakfast, bistro with traditional dishes for those who come for lunch or an informal dinner, and non-stop snacks and nibbles. There’s also a Sunday brunch and teatime for the English-style fanatics. And of course gourmet restaurant Leone Felice, the name that is a tribute to the old custodian of the estate.

“Over the years, the clientele has changed, the spa, dedicated to Chenot treatments has become increasingly established and a more complete and well-structured offer was necessary – hosts Carmen Moretti and Martino de Rosa explain -. With this new project we have found once again the desire and the enthusiasm to personally take care of our clients’ hospitality”.
The rooms are luminous and spacious, redesigned by Valentina (the youngest of the Moretti sisters) and furnished with Carmen’s glamorous touch. Among the new elements, there’s a large terrace overlooking the vineyards where one can get a glimpse of lake Iseo, and the chef table, for those who want to dine while enjoying the “activity” in the kitchen.

Fassona fillet with tomato sauce

Fassona fillet with tomato sauce

Fabio Abbattista, born in 1977, with experience at Cavalieri Hilton in Roma, at The Square in London (2 stars), at Le Gavroche (2 stars) with Michel Roux, at Le Spoon in Paris with Alain Ducasse and at The Roof Garden Restaurant inside Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens, is now at the helm of the whole restaurant offer. Moreover, he was the sous-chef next to Fabio Baldassarre at Unico in Milan, 1 Michelin star conquered just 6 months after the opening.

The chef from Apulia accepted the challenge with purposefulness: “I’m strongly motivated, for me it is an honour to work in a place that was for so many years the restaurant of Gualtiero Marchesi, yet I’m not scared. It’s a unique opportunity, now I want to get my cuisine known”. Some characteristic traits: Italian tradition, intense flavours, a selection of excellent products from small (preferably local) producers, and strictly seasonal ingredients, many of which are picked right from the vegetable garden at the back of the restaurant. The team is young and close: 14 guys who want to work hard, the average age being 25. Of the Marchesi era there’s still the professionalism of Ermes Cantera in the dining room, the “historic” sommelier who embraced this project”.

Leone Felice's renovated dining room

Leone Felice's renovated dining room

Three dishes are not to be missed: Roasted eel, cucumber, green apple and chervil, Toasted wheat cappelletti stuffed with rabbit, anchovy butter, Pigeon in “casserole” with figs and hazelnuts. Flawless explosions of flavour and balance, even when facing complex ingredients that are difficult to work with, such as freshwater fish. The wine that has to be present during the evening is Vigna Leone, a 100% Chardonnay to be drank throughout the meal, made with the grapes of an ancient vineyard from which only one thousand bottles are produced each year: don’t try to buy it, you can only taste it at the Albereta.

Leone Felice dell'Albereta
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 23
Erbusco (Bs)
Closed on Sundays and Mondays
Menu à la carte: 80-100 euros, wines not included
Menu of the month: 90 euros, wines not included