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Casereccio Foods, #PastaChallengeYVR

In the recent, participating in Vancouver Foodster events has brought me to Casereccio Foods a couple of times. Casereccio is a neighbourhood Italian Cafe located in the Kitsilano area. They are best known for their in-house made pastas and their small batch gelatos. They also carry a large selection of sweet and savoury pastries for dine in or to take out on the go.

My first visit was during the Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates, 10th anniversary event. Here, attendees travelled around sampling from the Vancouver Fooster’s favourite restaurants and cafes. It was there that I first tried their gelato. It was the tail end of summer and Casereccio Foods were featuring two of their new summer flavours. The sour cherry and chocolate and stracciatella gelato. Out of the two, the cherry was definitely my favourite. The sharp tartness of the fruit and the rich bitterness of the dark chocolate was well balanced out by the sweetness of the creamy gelato base. The stracciatella was sweet and creamy with a muted caramel nuance.

My second visit to Casereccio was for the latest Tasting Plates, focusing on new restaurants and hidden gems in the Kitsilano area. Casereccio Foods falls into the latter. There, we had two baked Conchiglioni, which are large, stuffed pasta shells. One was filled with white ragù meat, and the other one with a red mushroom ragù. Both were stuffed fill and well-seasoned samples. This was my first taste of their pasta.

They make all their pastas in-house using traditional pasta making machines, scattered around the room, due to their limited space. Three of which were pointed out to us, including one just for gnocchi.

They make at least 10 different pasta varieties, according to the shadow box visual they proudly display at the counter, right under their black board menu. Said menu invites you to build your own pasta by picking the type of noodle by length in either short or long, and then topping it with one of eight different sauce varieties.

I would get to try more of that with my most recent revisits, as one of Vancouver Foodster’s Pasta Challenge judges. Where I was tasked to try their limited release pasta special and scoring it out of 40 points for presentation, originality, and taste.

This is the Under the sea is squid ink ravioli filled with local Dungeness crab and topped with roasted cherry tomato emulsion, micro greens, and caviar. This was an incredibly striking dish. A daring one to combine the traditional ravioli with the trendy squid ink hue, and then top it with the popular fish roe. A medley of contrasts and a mish mash of flavours to bring forth something altogether new.

The ravioli was fairly sweet from the tomato, pea shoots, and crab. The latter, we were told was sourced from Granville Island, and then became one of the scratch ingredients in this double ravioli plate. The pasta ate lean, the pepperiness of the pea shoot gave the serving depth and a crisp freshness. And along comes the fish roe to add pops of juice, incorporating more fishiness to the mix.

We ended our visit with a tasting of their gelato. Trying the salted caramel and caramelized fig, and ending up with the tiramisu we came in wanting anyways. It definitely delivered on its flavour promise. We especially liked the addition of bits of coffee-soaked lady fingers that topped the tray of it. A rich and stiff gelato with the bitterness of coffee, the sweetness of chocolate, and the brightness of a lively spirit.

We also had a double scoop of the passion fruit gelato and the dark cherry chocolate as recommended by the owner of Casereccio. Each creamy and rich, with the tartness of its fruit balancing out the sweetness of the vanilla-based cream. The passionfruit tasted like a cheesy mango, very unique in taste and texture.

In conclusion, Casereccio Foods is a great stop for authentic Italian on the go. And if you visit them before November 2nd, be sure to try their limited edition #pastachallengeyvr dish and vote for your favourite out of the 8 competing this year at https://vancouverfoodster.com/pasta-challenge/

Casereccio Foods
2480 Vine Street, Vancouver, BC V6K 3K8

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