Tutto Gusto in the Italy Pavilion offers an intimate reprieve from the heat and the crowds in the World Showcase. Located right off of the lobby of Tutto Italia, this quaint little hideaway is designed to look and feel like an Italian wine cellar with rustic wood beams, stone walls, and vaulted ceilings.
Seating only 96, the cozy couches and dark wood tables and chairs invite guests to get comfortable and indulge in the flavors of Italy and over 200 varieties of Italian wines and liqueurs.
The focal point of this sweet little wine bar tucked away in the pavilion is the bar itself. With all of the wine bottles and glasses displayed in an artful style, as well as the beautiful lighting made up of clear wine bottles, this is a venue that is hard to resist.
The menu offers a wonderful variety of small bites from the different regions of Italy including various cheeses, panini sandwiches and various pasta, seafood and vegetable salads. The Gusto Plates offer a variety of meats, cheeses and salads and are meant to be shared with two or more people.
We started off our dining experience with a flight of wine, the Soft Elegant Reds, which consisted of a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Barbera d’Alba and a wonderful Valpolicella. All three were wonderful selections with hints of raspberry and a smooth finish, but the Valpolicella was a favorite among us with its wonderful notes and velvety texture. Unfortunately, the Valpolicella cannot be purchased in the neighboring Enoteca Castello wine shop, however, after a quick search online, we found it for $17.99 per bottle.
With so many interesting choices on the menu, it is hard to choose one or two, so we chose several. We started with the La Siciliana. This plate offered a generous portion of handcrafted, fresh mozzarella, a peppered sausage, crisp breadsticks a caponata salad and focaccia bread. The fresh mozzarella was absolutely creamy and delicious and the sausage was perfectly flavored but it was the Caponata that made us swoon. If you are unfamiliar with Caponata, it is a sicilian eggplant agrodolce salad which means sweet and sour and a common Sicilian side dish. This one was anything but common – it was a flavor explosion. So good, we even asked for the recipe!
We also sampled two different panini sandwiches – the Proscuitto di Parma and the Carcoifi (artichoke) & Fontina. These wonderful little sandwiches are paired with a cool, crisp wedge of romaine and a delicious garlic Caesar dressing. Perfect companions.
We also gave the Meatballs Parmigiana a try too. These tasty little meatballs are wonderfully flavored and served in a warm marinara with fresh mozzarella melted on top and a pane di casa. I highly recommend sampling these if you love true Italian meatballs.
Of course, it is rather difficult to pass up a true Italian dessert and Tutto Gusto does not fall short on their Dolci selections. The cannolis are the best I have ever tasted, and I grew up in an Italian household. The crisp pastry is filled with a sweet ricotta filing with chocolate and a finish of sweet candied oranges. Absolutely exquisite! And, the Carmellito cream was rather delicious too with layers of marscapone and a carmel cream.
If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend stopping in at Tutto Gusto for a wonderful sampling of the many tastes of the regions of Italy. While it may be a bit pricey, we lingered for a couple hours sampling the wines and savoring the incredible small plates this charming wine cellar has to offer and thought it was worth every penny. This is one place we will return to again and again.