A summertime must during a visit to Vail is eatting bruschetta and sipping sangria on the delightful patio at La Bottega. On my most recent road trip to Vail I was salivating just thinking about it on my drive through the mountains. The Tuscan-inspired restaurant takes on a culinary journey to Italy.
I found La Bottega about eight years. Since then every visit to Vail, especially in summer, includes a stop at La Bottega for lunch, happy hour or dinner. After checking into the Sonnenalp across the street, my friend Kristen and I met for happy hour on the patio filled with brightly colored umbrellas and surrounded by a colorful array of flowers.
Without even looking at the menu I ordered the white sangria and bruschetta. The owner Elisabetta came over to chat. I asked for the sangria and bruschetta recipes. It’s “broo-sket-uh” she quickly told me, not “brew-chet-ah” as it’s commonly pronounced in America. Elisabetta is originally from Asiago, a small village northwest of Venice in northern Italy. She said bruschetta is easy and they follow the traditional recipe including tomato, basil and mozzarella. What makes theirs special is the freshly baked homemade focaccia bread. The white sangria is light, refreshing and crisp with tiny apple slices in it.
When I followed up and asked for the sangria recipe, she said, “No. I don’t even know it.” Most of the staff at La Bottega has been there ten years or more, including the one who makes the sangria and he doesn’t even share the recipe with co-workers. Elisabetta said I needed to try the red sangria too. The red is light too. I couldn’t decided which one I liked better so I sipped both!
As I nibbled on bruschetta and sipped sangria I was following the Italian phrase “celebrando la vita,” which means “celebrate life.” That’s easy to do at La Bottega.