In Zelarino, between Mestre and Treviso, a romantic gourmet restaurant that places farm products at the center of its cuisine, a corner of paradise that seems stolen from a postcard of the English countryside.
It all starts from the dream of Patrizia and Roberto, together with their children Giacomo, Alberto and Nicola, to create a contemporary farm inspired by the values of eco-sustainability and a return to rural traditions. Over the years they gradually bought the 9 hectares of land on which they built their farm and in 2005 Al Segnavento was born, the realm of genuineness and taste of the executive chef Patrizia Del Ponte and of the sous chef Alessio Loppoli, inspired by a farm-to-table haute cuisine that starts from the ingredient to build the dish.
All around, the beauty of the Venetian countryside bordered only by large meadows and wooden fences where the animals graze quietly: Suffolk sheep (those of Wallace & Gromit), piglets and all kinds of Venetian breed poultry, while in the elegant stables are bred American Quarter Horses selected for the saddle, a great passion of the owners. A marvel that is enclosed in every dish proposed on the menu, and not just metaphorically.
I let nature inspire my dishes to maximize the taste of the products we grow with love in our farm.
(Patrizia Del Ponte, chef)
The menu, in fact, celebrates the territory on the palate, but also on the eye, embracing the 5 senses. The signature dishes, based on a raw material that has been little worked to enhance its taste and quality, are accompanied by watercolors by Pietro Lezzi, a famous illustrator who narrates through bucolic images the very short supply chain from which all the ingredients are born.
Like the Suffolk Lamb roasted with juniper, top of the farm’s production, served in two cuts respectively decorated with black and white crumble, a tribute to the sheep of the homonymous breed originally from Great Britain; or, among the desserts, Bianca has run away, a delicious chocolate mousse covered with sponge cake soaked with Matcha tea, spinach and drops of Pecorino and dark chocolate ice cream that symbolize the green lawn crossed by a shepherd dog running after a flock.
The surprise tasting menu is highly recommended, which tells a story that smells of hay, flower fields and green pastures.
Most of the ingredients used, with very few excellent exceptions, such as the Piccolo Brite’s cheeses of Cortina D’Ampezzo or the Garda olive oil, are, in fact, produced by the farm following the natural seasonality, without the use of substances harmful to the environment: meat, cured meats, eggs, fruit, vegetables, jams. Obviously, everything, from pasta to bread, is homemade by hand, according to ancient rural traditions.
The excellent wine cellar prefers natural labels of the territory and small producers who will surprise even the lovers of the noblest French wines.
Giacomo, the maitre d‘, also takes care of the very elegant mise en place and of the decor of the restaurant, made up of objects of high craftsmanship – such as porcelain made to measure for Al Segnavento by the ceramic artist Alessio Moras or the seats of Cantarutti di Palmanova – that mix with country-chic details such as wildflower centerpieces or silk cushions with floral decorations.
And for those who want to immerse themselves completely in the beauty of the Venetian countryside, the resort also includes the Osteria Ai Brillanti, managed by Nicola, with an adjoining shop where you can buy the products of the farm, and the Fiori & Frutti farmhouse which offers 14 rooms, swimming pool, breakfast room, lounge and dining room in the style of English cottages, characterized by wood paneling on the walls, flowery curtains and decorative objects inspired by equestrian sports.
In the summer, from June to mid-September, Al Segnavento also becomes an educational farm where summer camps are organized to bring children and teenagers aged 4 to 12 closer to the wonder of the Venetian countryside.
Do not miss the evening events such as aperitifs and open-air cinema during which the lawn in front of Al Segnavento is set up with rows of lights, candles, deck chairs and blankets. Simply magical.
Like in a fairy tale, Al Segnavento was born by chance. When the Bucci family decided to create the farm, Patrizia limited herself to practicing her passion for good food in the lunches she prepared on Sundays for her family. Step by step, studying as a self-taught, she soon began to cook for the guests of the farm until the opening of the restaurant in 2005. Today Patrizia is one of the most successful agri-chefs in the Italian food and wine scene, winner of the Cuochi d’Italia award in 2019.
Tasting menu: from 60 euro (30 euro with wine pairing)
First courses: 18 — 20 euro
Second courses: 24 — 28 euro
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday, Sunday for lunch only
Rooms from 90 euro