2019 - the year of anniversaries including Carluccio's!

The memory lives on! 6th June marks the start of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings; a momentous occasion to celebrate peace, liberty and reconciliation.

To  mark the milestone, the skies over Kent will be filled with wartime Dakota aircraft as hundreds of parachutists take part in a mass airdrop.

The event is expected to lead to a surge in visitors to the county from this side of the Channel and a great base for any such visit is the historic cathedral city of Canterbury.

This fine city in southeast England was a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, encircle its medieval centre with cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. Canterbury Cathedral, founded 597 A.D., is the headquarters of the Church of England and Anglican Communion.

It may receive rather less fanfare but 2019 also marks another key anniversary: 20 years since the first restaurant opened by Antonio Carluccio, the man they called "the godfather of Italian gastronomy", with a career spanning more than 50 years.

Carluccio, a colourful and well-loved character familiar to British food lovers for his dozens of cookery books and appearances on television, had an extensive career, having catered for the likes of Prince Charles and Mick Jagger.

He opened his first restaurant, in London’s Covent Garden, when he was named the runner-up Sunday Times Cook of the Year.

Sadly, Antonio died in November 2017 but, after a rocky spell, the Italian chain that still carries his name has gone from strength to strength.

The chain underwent a restructuring plan that resulted in the closure of some of its restaurants but Carluccio’s remains popular and today still operates from more than 70 locations up and down the UK.

One of those that survived the closure programme is in Canterbury and, for visitors for the 75th WW2 anniversary, it makes for a perfect stop for refreshment.

It is situated on the ground floor of Fenwick Department Store right at heart of this bustling city. It is one of about six Carluccio’s in the UK based in a Fenwick store, each of which have a slightly reduced menu but which retains all the customer faves. This casual and laid back restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from Monday to Sunday and offers a broad range of classic Italian dishes. It also caters for vegetarians and those who are following a gluten free diet, with options for both on its menu and the specials board that changes every month.

The welcoming Czech-born manager, Jan, oversees a pleasant restaurant that is popular both with locals and the many tourists who flock to Canterbury.

Local favourites include the seafood linguine and penne giardiniera but also look out for some new additions to the card wuch as veganesca spaghetti. There’s also a good choice of deserts and drinks, including some tasty wines.

During his life, Antonio Carluccio wrote 22 books and starred in TV programmes including Antonio Carluccio’s Italian Feast and the BBC2 series Two Greedy Italians.

Today, his memory and legacy is alive and well here and at other branches of the chain.

Commendably, he also launched a foundation – supporting action against hunger – that also survives his death.

Carluccio’s is also doing its bit for the environment, being a founding member of the sustainable restaurant association.

The much-missed Antonio said his motto was “mof mof” – minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour – and that is a fitting legacy that lives on at all his restaurants.

And if you happen to find yourself in Canterbury on 29 March – Mother’s Day – why not treat your mum to a treat at this place!


St George’s Street, Canterbury

T: 0044 (0) 1227 769420


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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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