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The confidence in a restart that seems real (with reservations often already sold out for weeks) and, hopefully, definitive, above all thanks to vaccines; the enthusiasm of wanting to start over not only from where we left off, but also from new projects and concepts; some concern related to the paradox, after a year and a half of almost total standstill, of the lack of personnel; small but substantial uncertainties, which will clarify in the next few hours, on the number of diners allowed indoors (you should go from 4 to 6, with the exception of larger numbers in the case of families), while the green light seems safe outdoors at the tables, at least in the white area, without prejudice to the spacing of one meter between diners. It is with these sentiments, told to WineNews, by chefs, sommeliers and dining room managers of the most important starred restaurants in the Belpaese, that the Italian restaurant industry looks to the future, immediate and not only, to leave behind a very hard and very long period, which, from 2020 to May 2021, caused losses to the sector of 50 billion euros. But this is the past: now, while the many events in the world of wine around Italy are also restarting, in the words of restaurateurs and restaurant managers, there is great optimism, desire, enthusiasm, energy. There are those who reopen today, like the three-starred Piazza Duomo in Alba by Enrico Crippa and the Ceretto family or the Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence by Giorgio Pinchiorri and Annie Feolde, who have already done so like Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, From Vittorio of the Cerea family, La Pergola del Rome Cavalieri by Heinz Beck, or Uliassi, remaining a tristellati, but also other iconic restaurants such as the Casa Vissani di Baschi di Gianfranco and Luca Vissani, or L’Argine di Vencò by Antonia Klugmann, or even the Torre del Saracino in Vico Equense by Gennarino Esposito to the Cathedral of Ragusa Ibla by Ciccio Sultano, to trace a small but representative “tour of Italy”.
“We have reopened the Piola a month ago, and today we leave again with the Piazza Duomo, for now only on the weekend – says Enrico Crippa from the Langhe – and we hope to go to full capacity in July. There is already a lot of demand, for now it seems more at lunch than at dinner due to the curfew, because customers do not want to be in a hurry. However, there is great optimism. The incredible thing is that there is no staff, we too are under number and I feel many colleagues in the same conditions. There is a lack of waiters, pastry chefs, cooks, and it is a phenomenon to understand: I thought that after months of rest, with the restart, we would have to choose from many curricula, instead this is the situation, and from this point of view a bit of concern c ‘is”.
“There is a crazy desire to come and eat with us – confirmation from Bergamo Chicco Cerea – we are already bouncing many bookings. There is a desire to really start over, and we started fifth. There is the difficulty of a few missing personnel, and it takes a little time for everyone to regain the rhythm and concentration of before, after months of rest or work at low gears, but c ‘it’s really great enthusiasm ”.
“We have been open for two weeks in the garden which, for the first time, we have equipped, but this is the first weekend in which we can also work inside, and we are really very excited – tells from Collio, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Vittoria Klugmann, sister and right arm of chef Antonia Klugmann – there is a lot of interest from loyal customers in the area but also from all over Italy, and you begin to see someone from abroad, Austria in particular. For the weekends we are already full for the whole of June, we are very happy, also because, during the months of rest, we have worked hard on creativity, and among the different menus we offer 14 completely new dishes “.
Going down to Emilia, the voice is that by Beppe Palmieri, sommelier and maitre of the Osteria Francescana: “We started off like a bomb, at full speed, and we are finally back to our beloved routine. We are already fully booked until December, and this is a great sign. And even the wine at the table is back to spinning, even better than before … ”.
Same sentiment that comes from the coast of Marche, from Senigallia, in the words of Mauro Uliassi: “We have restarted at full speed, there is great optimism, many bookings, in Senigallia there will be no problems, there will be a great economic rebound for everyone, and so it will be for the entire Adriatic coast and for Italy, we hope that the summer is like last year and that in autumn there is no turning back “.
It’s a raging river of enthusiasm too Luca Vissani: “At Casa Vissani we start off again, revolutionizing the concept of gourmet cuisine, making it“ dynamic ”, with a different and informal welcome in the“ rock ”room, and then the innovative taste experiences in the classic dining room of the restaurant. We focus everything on the highest quality, we have only 8 tables, which means no more than 20 people, visible on the kitchen and we will work in close synergy with many leading wineries, from Caprai to Barberani, to remain in the Umbrian territory, to reality like Muratori and Cà del Bosco from Franciacorta or Benanti from Sicily, to name a few, but also experimenting with a welcome and meal based on infusions and herbal teas. The menus will be dynamic, they will change with the season, and we will have only two cards: that of desserts, and that of cheeses, where we will not offer the classic trolley, but dishes that will enhance the best cheeses. We have great energy and trust, in our Umbria and in Italy, which is always capable of giving the best when it is in difficulty ”. From nearby Tuscany and its capital Florence, there is enthusiasm in the words of Alessandro Tomberli, director of Enoteca Pinchiorri: “We reopen today, with great expectation, curiosity, and a great desire to leave again. For the first two weeks we are already full, and it is a great sign, we are enthusiastic, eager, there is only the unknown factor of foreigners, who we hope will be back soon. There is a desire to smile, because in this year and a half we have also run out of tears ”.
“We are really starting again, at full speed – comments Marco Reitano, sommelier and dining room manager from La Pergola in Rome – the desire to be together to socialize, and to do it in the restaurant, is overflowing, and the wine is drunk more than before. Customers couldn’t wait to come back and they came back ”.
“We have reopened at full capacity a few days ago since it can also be served indoors – tells from Vico Equense, in Campania, Gianni Piezzo, sommelier of the Torre del Saracino – there is a great desire to leave again, there is a turnout, there is no lack of customers, we worked continuously for both lunch and dinner, as indeed last year, from May to October, making for the period numbers never seen in 6 -7 years, despite having worked only with Italians. A few foreigners are now starting to revise, reservations speak of full recovery, indeed, we expect to do even better than last summer. And we hope this is the definitive restart.
Great expectations also come from Sicily, as Riccardo Andreoli, head of the Il Duomo hall tells us: “there is a real air of restart, we are confident, since the vaccine campaign has accelerated we have received boom in bookings. Sicily, then, is a very coveted destination, and foreigners who weren’t there last year also meet again. There are many bookings, we are absolutely very happy. Unfortunately there is still a little uncertainty about the number of diners at the table, but we will manage it ”. In this regard, pending official clarifications that should arrive by the hour, the situation, as explained by the Studio Giuri of Florence, led by the lawyer Marco Giuri, is this: “following the confrontation between the Government and the Regions which took place yesterday, it is expected, today, the official decision by the Ministry of Health on the new numerical limits for tables in restaurants. What is indicated below is therefore the result of the journalistic reconstructions that are taking place even in these hours. What seems certain at the moment is that there will no longer be numerical limitations in the outdoor tables as regards the white area. For the limit of indoor seats, however, in the white area, the people who can sit together will be 6 except if cohabiting, or in any case of two families at most (excluding minors). It is not yet clear, however, whether these rules will also be extended to the yellow area, where currently Article 27 of the Prime Minister’s Decree of 2 March 2021 provides for a limit of 4 people, except if cohabiting, both outdoors and indoors. In this perspective, the representative of the Governors Massimiliano Fredriga proposed a national technical table, relaunching the opportunity to evaluate the abolition of outdoor limits also in the yellow areas ”.
Net of this, however, the concrete feeling is that the path of the restart of the restaurant is now underway, and an important improvement in the situation is also told in the numbers of the Michelin Barometer, which monitors the opening rates of starred restaurants in the world: as of May 31, 2021, at a global level, it had reopened 50%. And if China has been traveling 100% for months now, despite some small recent alarms of new cases from Covid-19, Japan, in the same dynamic, is also at 93% of reopening. Excellent news comes from the US, where 72% of starred restaurants have rekindled their stoves, but part of Europe is also shaking up, with the United Kingdom at 96% of reopening, Spain at 87%, and Italy at 60. %. Germany is still lagging behind, at 17%, while France was still completely at stake at the date of the survey.

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Marco Ribaudo

Marco Ribaudo

For the love of food and wine! Marco Ribaudo, Certified Sommelier, with 25 years in the food and beverage industry now invites you to join him in his latest adventure, the opening of la Cucina del Vino to share his culture and passion for creating unforgettable memories around the table.

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