It’s a useful primer to Gibraltar’s contested history, although the Spanish case doesn’t get much of an airing so it’s hard not to suspect that one side of the argument is being glossed over. Still, whatever the historical rights and wrongs, it’s easy to see why Gibraltar didn’t want to be subsumed by Spain during the Franco years and equally obvious that the long period of border closure was a petty gesture that has left deep scars. Worth a look for an insight into the impact of wider geopolitics on a small nation, but this seems unlikely to represent the last word on the subject.
There’s a charming eccentricity to this new deli-cum-café on King William IV Street. Its slightly baffling tagline is ‘Italian agri-cultural food’, which seems to roughly translate as food from a number of farms across Italy – including Rosetta’s own Azienda Agricola Pizzavacca, near Cremona. The upshot? A great new central spot showcasing Italian produce of exceptional quality. First impressions probably won’t draw you in. The decor is apparently aimed at recreating the contemporary rustic aesthetic of the farm back home. Which in this case means bare plywood (you can still see the chippy’s pencil marks) and a strip of AstroTurf. TV screens with the sound muted tell the farm-to-fork story, and oddly empty herb pots lining the walls make it feel very much like a work-in-progress. But who cares when the food is this good? A platter of parmesan, grana padano, pecorino, taleggio, Parma ham, prosciutto and salami was eyebrow-raisingly impressive – the meats particularly so. Best of all, though, were the sandwiches, made with the north Italian rosetta bread that gives this place its name. We enjoyed the nutty flavours from a Roberto (baked ham with artichoke cream) and the sweetness of the Giovanni (porchetta with onions and cream), but it was the Giuseppe that topped the lot: so simple, just superb anchovies and sweet, unsalted butter. They made perfect pals for the astonishingly good bread. The platters cost £15, and the sandwiches between £4.60 and £6.10. They are not huge, b