A Taste Of Italy ....In Collingham
The car park is overflowing and it sounds like the laughter is too as the car pulls into Piccolino at Collingham.
The sky bear clouds that are more typical of October, the cool wind feels like a leftover from March, whilst under what looks like a Tipi my fellow diners seem to be in a jovial mood. Laughter seems to be the best response to the whole idea of eating outside in early spring in this country.
Whoever thought of this unseasonal alfresco experience is probably cosy and warm at home, whilst we endure whatever the British weather can throw at us. Good for Piccolino that have had the sense to put suspended heater lamps in the Tipi as they know that the weather in Collingham is not the same as the shores of Lake Como!
Minestrone Alla Genovese
If you get there early enough and sit down before 5pm the early evening menu priced at £19.75 for 2 courses or £24.95 for 3 courses is excellent value. Another reason for dining early is that the sun is marginally warmer than say 7pm.
The Tipi is completely full, either the other guests know they are on to a good thing or we are all barmy for sitting in a tent in early May with our coats on, whilst the Italian waiters waltz by as if they haven’t a care in the world. The grass underneath your feet might be fake but the atmosphere certainly is not.
I always associate soup with winter so it only seems only right to choose on the Minestrone Alla Genovese. A warm classic Italian vegetable soup with basil pesto, served with toasted ciabatta. Add some cheese on top and it tastes even better.
Opposite a group of ladies huddle around an outside table. They are there to celebrate a 70th birthday though as it is getting too cold for them and blankets are swiftly provided. Their first course is eaten and the cold conditions seem to be forgotten.
My Pizza Piccante looks like it came from Italy. Even better it tastes like the pizza you had at that little Italian pizzeria you discovered in some backwater in Tuscany where all the locals eat.
Spicy Calabrian sausage, roast red pepper, tomato and mozzarella make it sound like a Who’s Who of the pizza world.
Tortino Al Cioccolato
With my pizza being hot not even the coolish breeze can compete with my Tortino Al Cioccolato: a warm chocolate fondant stuffed with chocolate truffles served with an authentic vanilla ice cream.
There still seems to be no shortage of customers arriving. Even the sun decides to make an appearance.
Inspired by Italy, made by Piccolino, weather from Yorkshire. Sounds a perfect combination.
Piccolino Collingham, Wetherby Road, Collingham, LS22 5AY
Telephone 01937 579797