THE STORY OF “OUR SHOP” , by Michele Marcucci.
At the beginning, it was all about a small trade in Pietrasanta: our grandparents Elia and Cecco sold wine in their shop, helped out by our father Giuseppe who collaborated daily after his working hours as a bank employee. The main activity of the “shop” consisted in decanting local wines into flasks and effecting home deliveries of demijohns and flasks as returnable vessels. Each summer, when the school year was over, my brother Simone and I would make ourselves useful assisting our grandparents and our father in the everyday routine. One of my father’s initial insights which set the path for the wine-bar’s future was the introduction of French wines and spirits. In 1987, my brother and I began to dedicate full-time to the shop business. We immediately decided we needed an architect to renovate the interiors, so we asked our cousin Giulio Lazzotti to design the makeover of the Enoteca. We then tentatively started offering samples of cold meats and cheese to make wine-tasting a more pleasant and satisfying experience. Meanwhile my mother Franca, formerly a primary school teacher, set to concocting the vegetable soups, which were to become one of the hallmarks of our restaurant. Two years later, my father retired from his occupation. He resolved to create a large vegetable garden on the hills of Pietrasanta, where to this day we grow the products at the heart of our kitchen’s traditional recipes: Pappa al Pomodoro (bread and tomato soup), Zuppa di Farro (spelt soup), Zuppa del Sole (“sunshine” soup), Gran Piatto di Bieta (a special chard dish), Gran Piatto di Fagioli (beans). He also chose to refurbish the ancient fireplace standing in one of the restaurant’s rooms, where we now daily broil what I am fond of calling “cubic” steaks, due to the particular cooking method of turning them over and over again on the grill. The Enoteca was then ready to feature a complete range of dishes, from starters to desserts. The new challenge regarded quality assurance: my brother Simone took up the entire responsibility for selecting the suppliers, maintaining business relations and managing the firm. On my part, I continued to nurture my passion for the great French wines, which had sprung during my stays in Burgundy. We came to yet a new decision: the cellars existing in the basement of the building housing the restaurant, dating back to the 18th century, were renovated to receive and store the Premiers Crus from Bordeaux and the Grands Crus from Burgundy.
Looking back over the years, many were the obstacles, the setbacks and the anxieties my family and I had to overcome to make the Enoteca the special place it is today: a wine-bar and restaurant enjoying the support of a demanding, top-notch international clientele. For this reason, I am grateful to my parents for their unfailing support to my brother and me in running this business which we still like to call “our shop”.
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