Discover vegan Italian at “Tutto Bene”-Melbourne
Melbourne’s beloved risotteria, an Italian institution for over 15 years, is offering a vegan menu for the first time. Celebrating World Vegan Day on 1 November, the multi award winning Southgate restaurant will offer a vegan Italian menu of entrees, mains and desserts during a special Vegan Week from 1-7 November.
In collaboration with vegan Italian home chef Nadia Fragnito, who recently appeared on SBS show The Chefs’ Line, the menu will include indulgent Italian classics such as Lasagna (made with walnut ragu) and Tiramisu (decadent coffee liqueur layered with zabaione custard cream). Under the guidance of Tutto Bene’s head chef, Nadia will also be ‘veganising’ Tutto Bene’s famous Risi e Bisi pancetta risotto, and creating a Calamari dish using King Oyster mushrooms, lightly battered with lemon aioli.
Nadia will teach a Vegan Italian Masterclass at 6:30pm on Thursday 1 November, where those who attend will learn how to make her famous vegan tiramisu, plus receive lots of helpful tips and recipes for veganising Italian staples like ricotta and parmesan.
Booking in advance is highly advised, as Tutto Bene’s masterclasses typically sell out. The masterclass includes a three course vegan dinner, for just $85 total.
Bookings can be made online.
“A lot of people don’t think you can create vegan Italian food, due to the butter, cheese and meat that many dishes rely on. Where my family is from in Southern Italy, a lot of the dishes are ‘accidentally vegan’ – they often use olive oil instead of butter as they were created during a time when meat and dairy was scarce,” says Nadia.
“But what I really love to do is discover ways to ‘veganise’ those dishes that might be holding people back from cutting out animal products: like lasagna, meatballs, ricotta and tiramisu. I’ve even made a vegan beef carpaccio,” says Nadia, who is also a published vegan travel writer and an avid vegan Italian vlogger.
The Tutto Bene team are excited to be trying something new with the vegan menu and masterclass.
“This is definitely something new for our regular clientele, we are looking forward to seeing what their response is like. Over the last couple years we have noticed an increase in vegetarians and vegans who come in to the restaurant, and while we offer some fantastic vegetarian risottos, we felt like it was time to do something special,” says venue manager Antony Maaraoui.
A study of Australia’s eating habits determined that, as of 2016, 2.1 million Australians identified as meat-free eaters, which is 11.2% of the population.
Tutto Bene is perched above the banks of the Yarra River, overlooking Flinders St Station and the CBD from the heart of Southgate Melbourne’s mid level. The alfresco Tutto Bene Terrazza is a wow-worthy meeting point pre and post Spring Racing Carnival, with water taxis to Flemington on the promenade below, and Flinders St Station directly across the river.
Nadia Fragnito first went vegan 17 years ago and loves sharing her passion for veganising Italian dishes through her blog and social media pages The Vegan Italian Kitchen. Most recently her ingenuity at veganising Italian cuisine led to her competing on the SBS reality TV cooking show, The Chefs’ Line. When Nadia is not developing recipes or running a food demo at events such as World Vegan Day, she is a teacher and creative writer, with travel articles featured in Vegan Lifestyle Magazine, The Australian Vegan Magazine and Vegan Travel. Nadia is currently developing her first cookbook Vegan Italian Classics.
Tutto Bene is Melbourne’s only risotteria, a much loved riverside Italian restaurant and gelataria. The venue has won numerous Australian and international awards both as an Italian restaurant and for their house made olive oil and gelati, including the prestigious Los Angeles County Fair Gold Medal Award for their extra virgin olive oil. Their Ferrero Roche and Lemoncello Orange Ripple gelati flavours have also won gold at both the Royal Melbourne Fine Food and Sydney Royal Produce Shows.
After 13 years at their Southbank home, the renowned Italian eatery underwent a major expansion in 2015, taking over a second tenancy as well as expanding over Southgate’s mid level balcony overlooking the city and the Yarra River, transforming it into an alfresco casual dining area now known as the Tutto Bene Terrazza.