In the past Japan had a love affair with all things French, German and British, but now there is a connection with La Dolce Vita, in the heart of Fukuchiyama.
Rosemary gelato may seem strange to Japanese diners, but the Japanese have had a long tradition of blending the best from new and old, from east and west. One only needs to see the way that Wagashi confectionery makers are incorporating western ideas into traditional Japanese rice cakes, such as Santa Claus themed Wagashi for Christmas, as well as the incorporation of chocolate and cream in some Wagashi recipes.
While the Rosemary gelato was pleasant with the herb adding crunch and contrast to the sweetness of the gelato, my willingness to experiment didn’t extend to the Parmigiano cheese gelato. On the other hand, the strawberry flavor is a crowd pleaser. Besides gelato, their sweets or dolci menu includes other traditional items such as Tiramisu, Lemon Tart, Pannacotta, as well as Torta Paradiso, a sponge like tea cake lightly dusted with icing sugar and served with strawberries and cream.
On a sunny weekday morning the crowd is mainly young couples and ladies in their twenties and thirties experiencing a little bit of Italy. There are Italian children’s books, newspapers, maps and posters on the wall, framed by dried herbs hanging from the ceiling and a scooter near the entrance, giving the place the look of an Italian bookstore, open kitchen and workshop, all at the same time. Not that anyone here could read Italian. The menu is in Italian, and for English speakers, you may be able to get away with guessing, as the Japanese-Italian dictionary on the bookshelf is unlikely to be of much help. For the locals thankfully a Japanese menu is available as well.
For mains there are the usual suspects like spaghetti with ham in a tomato based sauce, or you could try a variety of small tapas like dishes. Some of the meat and vegetable dishes make use of the local ingredients, such as Tamba Pork and Beef. They also have a variety of set lunch menus, depending on your budget and the size of your stomach. A selection of wine, draft beer, tea and coffee is also available.
The Trattoria is located about 5 minutes from Fukuchiyama Railway Station, sharing the same building as the hotel. It is a delightful addition to the culinary scene in the mountain country of Kyoto Prefecture.