06 Apr Vegan Venue Pantagruel
Pantagruel is a special place. It’s not just a bar, a restaurant or a meeting place with a lot of events. It is all in one and even much more.
The venue is in Via Lanza 28, is a bit hidden, and you must enter a doorway (always open) and access to the courtyard to find the entrance. But once you are in, you find a convivial and relaxed place, practically a lounge in the centre of Casale Monferrato. You can savour vegetarian and vegan dishes made by a crew of super friendly guys and immerse yourself into this little world, that’s somehow different from the rest of the town.
The place consists of a small but high room with a bar, wooden tables in bright colours and a lovely courtyard. The informal, charming and easy going atmosphere comes out in the numerous free initiatives: a book-sharing centre, a calendar full of gigs, events, book presentations, art exhibitions (check the Pantagruel’s facebook page for upcoming events). The place is run like a co-op and we are welcomed from Angela and Katia, co-op members (and sisters), with a delicious glass or red organic wine from the “La Casaccia” wine farm.
“Pantagruel is a feisty giant who sees the world upside down“. With those words, according to the Rabelais novel, Angela sums up the soul of his place. A dynamic hub where the sisters Angela and Katia want to welcome not just people, but also their creative ideas and unconventional initiatives. A place where “Anyone, if she/he wants, can do something together with us“, a promise that they keep on to maintain time after time. Some ideas have become recurring appointments of the place.
To explore the place we were at a concert of an Italian songwriter. There were few people and we felt like part of a big family. Everyone is sitting together at long tables and talking with each other. Plates are circulating, people are laughing and quarrelling together. The two babies seem to be well-known guests. Someone is sleeping on the sofa. It seems like people come here often and it’s kind of a second home for many of them. So all in all: A small world where it’s easy to get involved.
The concerts are mostly at the weekends. Lele, who is responsible for the events, has developed over the years an extensive network of contacts with Italian and European songwriters and indie bands. Even if the place is small, the Pantagruel is a popular venue, also because of its cultural initiatives such as exhibitions, performances, and stand-up comedians shows.
A place, a position
See the world upside down, to Angela and Katia, it means also to take an ethical stance. Since 2008, the year in which Pantagruel was born, they have chosen to use organic products or food, wine and beer from local farmers, they know personally. The aim is stimulating not only the people’s appetite but also their approach to a different kind of consumption. One year ago they made another hard choice in a small town with a strong culinary tradition: they decided to serve only vegan and vegetarian meals that customers are still rewarding.
Pantagruel is a different, meaningful and lovely place – somehow an island and at the same time, it has become an essential component of Casale Monferrato.
Address: Via Giovanni Lanza 28, 15033 Casale Monferrato AL
Mobile: +39 342 5151062
Mobile: +39 348 5106277
Written by Tommaso Zavattaro | Photography by Corinne Widmer