• Nicoletta Fornaro

Grape Leaves Pesto, Prosecco, and Books at sullaluna

Grape Leaves Pesto, Prosecco and Books at sullaluna

Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, surely now that one of the places I feel most at home in Venice is the teahouse and bookshop sullaluna in Cannaregio, and I am delighted to announce that it has finally reopened! Over time I have become friends with Francesca and Rodolfo, the owners, who during the lockdown have kept themselves busy working in their vineyards in Rive di Refrontolo (a beautiful town in the Valdobbiadene area) and making plans for the bookshop.

When Italy entered the so-called 'phase 2', Francesca managed to return to Venice and when we met, in addition to bringing me the most outstanding flowers from her family's garden and some bottles of their organic prosecco, she told me she wanted to add some new snacks to their menu and, also, about the new and quite witty books she had ordered for sullaluna.

With regard to the cafeteria, the idea was to introduce new snacks -which will change following to the seasons- related to their wine and the territory of their vineyards, and the first recipe she had thought about was a grape leaves pesto. You don't know how happy I was when she handed me two bags of handpicked grape leaves and asked me to try it and let her know my opinion. Because an ever growing number of people ask her for 100% plant-based dishes, we decided to make a fully green pesto and offer it accompanied either with or without cheese.

A nibble that is apparently simple, but that I think needs to be explained to be appreciated. Personally, I love the fact that at sullaluna flowers, food and wine all have a story. It is them who pick the flowers and grow the grapes, the sourdough bread is made by an artisan bakery in the Veneto countryside, the vegetables are from the organic i&s farm in the island of Sant' Erasmo, tea and coffee are carefully selected, and so on (even the furniture has a story, and many objects are produced by Rodolfo with recovered wood! While most tea cups, saucers and cutlery are vintage and bought by her mother...needless to say, I adore every piece!). All this adds value and proves how much Francesca and Rodolfo care about the environment and people, and that it is through simple everyday choices that we can contribute to improving the world we live in.

I encouraged Francesca many times to make her clients aware of all this, but it's not always easy, especially when there are many people seated that need to be fed and greedy readers to help. For this reason, she decided to open a website dedicated entirely to the bookshop (www.sullalunavenezia.it), and add a blog so as to narrate about the many products and activities they do. The blog is still under construction, but it will be available soon in Italian and English, and I suggest to follow them because there will be many interesting and surprising news and useful information.

As for myself, I can only say that I am really happy to have met them and that I am grateful for the place they opened in Venice. Sullaluna is special for me because it is addressed to locals and foreigners alike, people interested in quality food, who like to read, and also because Francesca organises many fun educational activities for the local children. The atmosphere you breathe in there is so relaxing that even a simple cup of tea ad slice of cake can make your day better. Anyway, here below I share the recipe for the grape leaves pesto we enjoyed together, toasting with a glass of Prosecco Lunatico Docg, and as soon as she will write about how they work the vines I will let you know.

Bye for now and talk soon! XXX


Ingredients for 2 jars:

4 cups grape leaves

1/3 cup peeled almonds

20 capers

1 clove of garlic

a pinch of salt

1/2 cup e.v.o. oil


1. Delicately rinse the grape leaves under fresh water and dry with a cloth.

2. Cut a clove of garlic in half, remove sprout and chop finely. Rinse the capers to remove salt. Roughly chop the almonds. Keep everything aside.

3. In a large pestle (or food processor, although a pestle is always the best solution), add the grape leaves, the almonds, the garlic, the capers, a pinch of salt -if needed- and the oil, and pestle until you get a nice and smooth pesto.

4. Toast a slice of bread, spread the grape leaves pesto and serve.

Excellent with a glass of prosecco or white wine!

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