The French have made fine dining an art form, and their much-revered culinary traditions both dazzle and cause anxiety to those not well versed in the nuances of a traditional Michelin Star meal. And so, the mystique and the snootiness of the Haute Cuisine has stood up to its grand tradition. Nevertheless, the Italians, in my opinion, have added their own “je ne sais quoi” to the fine dining tradition, and in fact, to every meal – whether it’s a casual get-together amongst friends or an elaborate sit-down dinner celebrating a special occasion. They seem to have the right inflection of fun, drama, and a certain sense of joyous hospitality and sharing that makes a meal in Italy memorable, inimitable and almost a clandestine affair – well, just kidding!
There are many expressions and interpretations of what exactly is fine dining – but most agree – it’s usually a terrific gourmet selection spread on a great table-scape, including fine linens and of course the customary libations to make the event sparkle and shine.
We have enjoyed many a memorable meal, from dining at small cafés in and around Lake Como to a classical fine dining experience at the Bauer in Venice, and along the way, memorable meals of all kinds from Milan to Rome, Modena to Bassano del Grappa … and of course, wonderful get-togethers in Milan and Monza. Even a simple pasta dish is not as simple as it may seem – the taste buds are aroused to a new level of awareness, and each herb appears to treat you to a taste rhapsody of its own. The sauce is fresh and the pasta just a bit al dente.
Food is an essential ingredient to a great Italian story – and for visitors to this great country, a constant joy of wonderment and variety. Both my business associate Dominic and his wife Lisa, and my wife Laurel and I, have enjoyed our many trips to Italy over the years. Many of these trips are remembered for the wonderful meals we have had or the scenic countryside we have driven through to get such a meal. While on the subject of driving, road trips in Tuscany are like being on the proverbial magical mystery tour. At every turn or vista point, you are amazed at what is in front of you - sites that stay imprinted in your mind now and ever!
We have selected some fine tableware and glassware from Tuscany and surrounding regions – these are all designed and made by small lesser-known craftsmen, many of whom have perfected their trade over the years, slowly but steadily finessing their skills into art. Every occasion I get to use some of these selections, I am flooded with the terrific memories of a great meal, some fantastic conversation, and the welcoming hospitality of our friends and local hosts.
We invite you to try and experience the art of fine dining - Italian style - whether you are planning your next meal, your next get-together, an alfresco dinner, or a summer outdoor event. Our selection will make your table come alive and help create a new look for your celebration. From our home to yours, our best wishes for a wonderful spring and summer, Italian style.
Remember: when in Rome do like the Romans. Salute!