As you walk along the hilly road of Jalan Ceylon, you will come to notice a small shop on the corner, those that you typically find on the streets of Rome. The walls of this shop is filled with hand written chalk menus on the daily offerings, ranging from a variety of different cured meats, aged cheese, artisanal pasta, sauces and truffles from all around Italy. This little shop is known as Bottega Meditterranea, one of the high quality suppliers of some of the best cured meats in Kuala Lumpur.
The shop is a humble hole in the wall, with murals and 3 boards of different speciality selections, namely a cured ham and salami menu, a cheese menu and a wine menu. There is also a selection of vegetable antipasti such as pickles, olives and tomatoes to choose from. The shop is rather small, with only a table or two at the front where the patrons can have a taste of their sandwiches served.
Bottega Meditterranea is the brainchild of maestro Riccardo Ferrarotti, Italian purveyor of fine foods. A seasoned chef himself having spent time in kitchens in Italy, Miami, Dubai, China and Kuala Lumpur, Riccardo’s wealth of product knowledge made it easy for him to transition into finding the right supplies from the right suppliers, a feat common with chefs, but not to this degree of understanding. When asked how his journey into the culinary world began, he stated: –
“My father is a chef, I learned cooking from him. He inspired me when I had to choose what to do, and so I chose culinary art. School teaches you only until a certain level, being a chef is a job that you have to learn by experience, where you “steal” from other chefs. I started to cook at home with my grandmother, preparing fresh pasta, gnocchi, helping to prepare the tomato “passata” during the end of summer season (It is a tomato passata feast in Italy). My father taught me quite a lot, from technique on chopping onions to how to debone a parma ham; my first was when I was 15 years old with his help, guiding me step by step by holding my hands. I must say that I’m pretty lucky, with his trick now, I’m still able to de-bone a ham blindfolded at 30 plus. As for how I ended up here, for this simple reason – I could not find the produces that I was looking for at the time when I was working with Nerovivo, as the local Malaysian suppliers could not match my request, therefore I decided to import it by myself, as simple as that.” — Riccardo Ferrarotti, Owner of Bottega Mediterranea.
Bottega Meditterranea isn’t so much of a dining experience as they mainly serve as a delicatessen. They do offer a very generous platter of cured meats at a very affordable price of only about RM50.00 (±£10.00) for a nice selection of 5 to 6 different types of cold cuts, an assortment of cheese and some pickles and olives on the side. Bottega Mediterranea’s philosophy is simple when it comes to food, or as Riccardo puts it: –
“Simple, neat and tasty. You need to be able to let the customer identify what is on their plate using their 3 senses: smell, taste, and sight. If it’s too complicated, it can spoil the whole experience.”
The Antipasti Platter comes with a selection of cuts, which were the Alsenese Salame Milano, Salame Contadino, Casa Modena Mortadella, Rigamonti Bresaola, Chorizo, and Valdo Ngina Parma Ham. This selection also came with 3 types of cheese, a Tomme, a Parmigiana Reggiano and Provolone. To put these items into context, they all contain vastly different flavour profiles.
Different meats are cured differently according to region.
Salami Milano is a dry cured pork, cured with sea salt and red wine, originating from the countryside of Milan, Italy.
Salami Contadino is a lean and dry cured pork, cured with sea salt originating from the countryside of Italy.
Mortadella is a ground heat cured pork, usually quite large made from ground pork with cubes of pork fat, originating from Bologna, Italy.
Bresaola is an air dried cured beef, sated and ages for 3 months until the meat turns a deep red, made from a lean cut, originating from Lombardy, the Italian Alps region of Northern Italy.
Chorizo is a spicy pork sausage, smoky in flavour and heavily seasoned with paprika, originating from Spain.
Parma Ham / Prosciutto
Parma Ham, also known as prosciutto, is a dry cured ham, salted, then dried for 2 months, made from the hind leg, originating from Parma, Italy.
There are different types of cheese, some softer while others harder. Some cured, while others smoked.
Tomme is a hard cheese made from cows or goats milk, produced form unpasteurised skim milk resulting in a lower fat cheese, originating from the French Alps region in Switzerland.
Parmigiano Reggiano, also known as Parmesan cheese, is a hard cheese made from cow’s milk, produced from unpasteurised milk, aged for at least 12 months, originating from Parma and Reggio, with some coming from Emilia, Mantua, Bologna and Modena, all in Italy. This cheese has protected DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) status.
Provolone is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk, produces from sometimes pasteurised and sometimes unpasteurised milk, ages for at least 4 months, originating from Casilli, Italy.
Olives and Pickles
They also have a nice selection of olives and pickles, one of the widest in Kuala Lumpur. The zucchini here were some of the better ones we’ve tried, not being exceedingly salty as it was pickled in olive oil.
The Francescano Sandwich is a simple sandwich for meat lovers, with its generous helping of parma ham, scamorza cheese and zucchini. The zucchini cuts the strong flavours of the meat quite well and is great for those looking for a heartier meal.
The Italiano Sandwich is one of the most popular sandwiches on the menu, made with Salame Milano, Asiago cheese, sun dried tomatoes and pesto. This sandwich packs quite the flavour with the savouriness of the cured meat, the sweetness of the sun dried tomato and nutty flavour of the pesto. Definitely a must try.
Halal Cold Cuts
Although most of the meat here is directly imported from Italy, there are also meats which are made available for the halal customers. These such cuts include the turkey ham, pepperoni beef salame, Spanish beef and cecina beef, just to name a few.
The Bottega Mediterranea Experience
This is a good place to find different type of cuts that you would like to sample, ranging from different regions of Italy. Even if you’re not here to dine, its a great place to procure your meat selection for home functions or just when you’re in the mood for some quality cuts that you can have at home. Malaysians also generally have quite a limited understanding of Italian food. As Riccardo puts it: –
The diversity of dishes that we have in our 22 regions are from north to south. People are only aware of 10% of our food, such as pizza and spaghetti to name a few. I don’t have a favourite, but if I have to choose for you I would choose Olive Ascolana, stuffed green olives with capsicum, breaded and deep fried to gold colour. I like Burrata as well, it’s fresh, simple, silky and delicate. I don’t like complicated taste, even if my palate it’s pretty advanced and can define and criticize well. The word antipasti is pretty much very vague, I believe that what you can find around is too expensive for the real value. Eggplant grilled and put under oil with herb and garlic above RM80 per kg? It’s ridiculous, it misleads people to buy it. I must say that the local provider could do a better job, chefs too. At Bottega Mediterranea we carry quite a few unique items such as Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) from north to south, Garda, Trentino, Liguria, Veneto, Tuscany, Lazio, Apulia, and Sicily. No one (and I say no one) has a vast selection of EVOO like us; Reason is that you can start and end a dinner with olive oil, and has over 1000 facets and hidden flavours. And our massive selection of cold cuts and cheeses.
To get better acquainted with the different cured meats and cheeses that are available in Kuala Lumpur, head on over to Bottega Mediterranea today.
1A, Jalan Ceylon,
50200 Kuala Lumpur.
+603 2070 4222
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 10.00 pm, Saturdays 10.00 am to 6.00 pm
| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: NICHOLAS NG & BOTTEGA MEDITERRANEA | WEBSITE: BOTTEGA MEDITERRANEA |