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Italian immigrant Antonio Carluccio opened his first Carluccio Caffe restaurant in the UK in the 1998 after running the successful Neal Street Restaurant, within a short time the restaurants gained national fame. Today Antonio continues to be involved in the restaurants but is also involved in other projects like the hit TV show Two Greedy Italians.
The restaurants aim to provide diners with top quality authentic Italian cuisine at reasonable prices. They have a passion for true Italian-style cooking and dining in a friendly service-orientated and informal environment. There are over 83 restaurants throughout the country including Bath, London, Heathrow (terminals 4/5), Birmingham, Glasgow and Brighton.
The restauranteurs also have a sense of moral responsibility and donate 50p for every glass of Penne Giardiniera ordered towards Action Against Hunger. They were also a founding member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and aim to reduce landfill and search for ingredients from sustainable sources.
We ordered the carpaccio and calamari for starters! Both were delicious! Very authentic and generous portions. For the main course we shared the Tortolinni di Chevro which has a thick venison meat inside and the Homemade ravioli which was stuffed with ricotta and spinach with a butter and sage sauce! Yum! Simply scrumptious!
The quality of ingredients used in the restaurants is impeccable, they only use Buffalo milk mozzarella and their focaccia, pasta and other dishes are made by hand and fresh each day.
We were too full for dessert but opted for the Bicerin a traditional drink from Torino with thick hot chocolate, espresso and cream mixed together-pure goodness in a cup!
Carluccio offers a number of hampers throughout the year, the most popular being the Christmas hamper, gift hampers and the summer picnic hampers.
For a real treat you can order a delicious Italian-style picnic basket packed with goodies. It contains the best of Italian and British produce and takes all the stress and work out of creating a picnic basket on your own (no more soggy sandwiches).
Picnic hampers cost £45 for enough food for two people. They come in a reusable cooler bag. Inside you'll find a full three course meal including Italian olives; lemon focaccia; spinach, ricotta and pine nut tarts; a salad of faro, courgette, cannellini bean, mint and rocket; corn-fed summer chicken supreme with parsley and pancetta, saffron potato and olive salad; ferreto pasta, pesto and chargrilled vegetables; individual strawberry tarts and Italian biscuits. There is a vegetarian option and you can opt to include wine.
For the kids there are individual kid's hampers for £10. These hold bit size foods to avoid mess. They include salami, cheese, carrot sticks, maize breadsticks, tuna mayonnaise, vegetarian pizza, meatballs in tomato sauce, fruit, a chocolate sponge bear and juice.
Hampers can be ordered up to 24 hours before you need them or you can pick up a Chef's Choice last minute option on the day without ordering. The hampers are ordered from the Carluccio restaurants and you can get more information from the Carluccios website. The picnic baskets are offered throughout summer up until 30th September.