What motivates someone to pack up their bags and come to a tropical island to set up a business? Well, first of all ‘tropical island’ might have given away some clues.
Today we’re talking to Manuela Prugnoli of Dolce Italia a cosy restaurant located in Colombo.
Dolce Italia which opened its doors about a year ago is a lovely little Italian restaurant well placed in the central Colombo 05 neighborhood. As you walk in, the glass display filled with croissants, cannoli’s, cream buns, pastries and cakes may make you gain a couple of kilo’s even before you think of ordering!
If you like to have your dessert at the end of your meal, you may want to keep clear of the dessert display until you have checked out their display of fresh pasta’s such as spinach fettucine, kurakkan fettucine and lasagna made to a family recipe. There’s plenty to choose from, including a vast array of other pasta options.
The white washed tables and the turquoise green colour scheme also makes this restaurant the perfect place to have croissant and a coffee while quietly reading a book.
At the heart of the restaurant, head chef and owner Manuela has lived in Sri Lanka for several years, we caught up with her and asked her to share her experiences living and doing business here.
First question is easy, what made you come to Sri Lanka?
I have been a chef working in the restaurant industry all over Italy for a long time and one day I was watching TV and chanced upon a travel program about a famous chef who was cooking on top of the Sigiriya Rock. I have always wanted to work in a foreign country and sharing Italian food with people from around the world. This was what really inspired me to work in Sri Lanka and its everything I wanted and more.
What do you love and hate most about Sri Lanka?
I absolutely love how beautiful nature in Sri Lanka can be. I also love how its people are so serene but the flipside is that they are may be a little too serene and laid back. This is something that makes working here a bit difficult.
Where is your favorite place in Sri Lanka?
Since it’s what inspired me to come to Sri Lanka, my favorite spot is definitely Sigiriya because it’s unique in the world and worth its position as the UNESCO 8th wonder of the world.
What do you think about Sri Lankan food and what’s your favorite dish?
I think that Sri Lankan food might have a little too much spices which tend to cut the flavor from the different components that make up the dish. My favorite food is definitely sweet hoppers. It’s made of rice flour and water in the shape of a bowl, it is the sweet version of the traditional hopper with added kitul treacle.
Do you think Sri Lankans love Italian food?
Most definitely. We have a lot of customers who come asking for Italian dishes and they really appreciate the authentic Italian flavor at my restaurant.
For customers coming to Dolce Italia what would be the perfect meal to order?
Our home made fresh pasta is the best thing you can have because it’s made with passion and love. Which of course doesn’t mean the rest of our food is NOT made with passion and love :)
If you had to give ONE piece of advice for travellers coming to Sri Lanka, what would you say?
Someone travelling here whether as a tourist or looking to live here should come with the right mindset and be ready to live in a country which is not in a hurry and it’s people are relaxed and laid back and not stressed like most in Europe. Life is very much “Dolce Farniente” here!