The godfather of good taste.
If anyone knows what makes a really good meal, then it’s Dany Stauffacher. Each year, the founder of the Sapori Ticino Gourmet Festival entices the world’s best chefs to Lugano. For him, the city is a gourmet’s dream the whole year round.
Lugano, the largest town in the holiday region of Ticino, is not only Switzerland's third most important financial centre and a conference, banking and business centre, but also a town of parks and flowers, villas and sacred buildings. With Mediterranean flair, Lugano offers all the advantages of a world-class city, combined with the cachet of a small town.
As the marron glacé melts in your mouth, the luxury chestnuts create an explosion of flavour that is truly unparalleled. It is astounding what an intense flavour these candied nuts have.
The recipe is a safely guarded secret of its makers, Giglia in Lugano. The small company still produces everything itself by hand. Stauffacher thinks marrons glacés make the perfect gift.
He knows what he is talking about. As the founder and CEO of the Sapori Ticino Gourmet Festival, he regularly chats to the best chefs in the world. According to Stauffacher: “The tastiest food comes from small-scale local producers.” There are many of these in Lugano, as Stauffacher shows on a walk around his city.
“The tastiest food comes from small-scale local producers.” Dany Stauffacher
It is no exaggeration to call Lugano “his” city. Stauffacher seems to know almost everyone who lives there. Whether in the famous Via Nassa shopping street or the picturesque Via Cattedrale on the hill, locals greet him wherever he goes.
He also receives a warm welcome at the Gabbani delicatessen. The family-owned company became famous for its delicatessen/meat specialities, with people queueing out the door today too.
What started in 1937 has now grown into a little empire. Gabbani includes a restaurant, as well as a hotel and a cheese counter. Here, Stauffacher samples an Alpine cheese, which clearly tastes delicious, judging by his reaction! “Cheese of this quality can only be made by small-scale farmers,” he beams and orders another wedge for dinner.
Stauffacher often finds that business and pleasure blend together.
For the godfather of good taste, eating is of crucial importance: “The best moments with the family are around the table, while the best business deals are also done over dinner,” he summarises. He naturally considers that wine should accompany the perfect meal. And here, too, he prefers regional specialities, such as fine wines from the small vineyard of Moncucchetto, for example. The winery of the Lucchini family can be found up on the hillside above the city centre.
A modern building by the famous architect Mario Botta is located amid the vineyards at the centre of the estate, a perfect symbiosis of architecture and nature. In Stauffacher’s opinion, this is as perfect as the combination of good cuisine and a Mediterranean town. He sips from a glass of Merlot as he gazes over Lake Lugano towards Monte Brè and says: “When you are in such a place with great food and an exquisite wine, you are a little closer to heaven.”