The Prince of Wales meets Brunello
On April 1st I met the Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, who charmed me off my feet. I assure you it is not an April fools, quite the contrary here I tell you all
We producers we called to meet at 6 pm, but the royal couple arrived two hours later. Allegra Antinori, Jacopo Biondi Santi, Leonardo Frescobaldi, Vittorio Moretti from Petra, Giuseppe Mazzacolin from Felsina, Giovanni Manetti from Fontodi …. All ready to serve bottles that were impeccably presented by the sommeliers of FIS Fondazione Italiana Sommelier duided by Franco Ricci in person. The setting was spectacular: Villa San Michele, a terrace over Florence with a facade decorated by Michelangelo. The panorama is similar to that seen from my home, where in the 14th century Giovanni Boccaccio set the scene of the “Ninfale fiesolano”, on the other hand maybe my view of Florence is better, but I do not have the exquisite elegance of the halls of this exclusive and romantic hotel. Maybe it is because of this luxury that Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have chosen it for
their Italian stay.
I was expecting a somewhat sad character, someone frozen by etiquette but surprisingly Prince Charles was delightful, with a stupendously British “sense of humour” and an ability to mingle with people fruit of a life dedicated to his nation. He is an extraordinary ambassador for the United Kingdom, people love him. When I told him that my Brunello Riserva came from a winery staffed only by women he laughed thinking about how it might be cosseted but he was incredible curious about the organic regime in the vineyards <<is it difficult here for you? And how do you cure diseases?> he wanted to know.
Camilla was showing her tiredness a bit more than him. That same day the royal couple had been to Naples by plane using the Pisa airport. Regardless of being used to these journeys, the not so young couple must have suffered a little, considering the heat, the many meetings and the many things to see. I said to her <<for Montalcino too, just like in England the global warming, has brought some luck>> and she asked me if I had tasted English wines and if I liked them. The Duchess of Cornwall is also the president of UKVA (the national organisation for grape growers and winemakers) and she is a real expert in fine wines-.
The evening does not finish here; I also go to support the Donne del Vino and the Orcia
producers who offer their wines during a party in honour of the Italia a Tavola award. The real award giving took place in the afternoon at the Ospedale degli Innocenti, this masterpiece of civil architecture by Filippo Brunelleschi. During the presentations I come to learn a real gem: did you know how Spain was able to overtake Italy as a holiday destination, without having the cultural offer, the beaches and the
hotels we have? To understand this we only need an example: the Marbella airport in Malaga receives more flights from Germany thank all of Sicily from all of Europe. No need for comments, these numbers speak for themselves.
The concluding party is in a night club transformed for the occasion into a treasure chest containing food excellencies : one hundred year old balsamic vinegar by Giuseppe Giusti, focacce from Santarpia, I love Ostrica, and then dishes by the Michelin starred restaurants: wild boar burgers by Falconiere in Cortona, Pasta al nero di seppia from Dopolavoro Dining Room in Venice …. I’ll stop here otherwise you will die of envy but this event organized by Alberto Lupini was wonderful, and finally a really trendy party, not commonplace and with extraordinary flavours speaking of the Italia a tavola.
What a day April 1st 2017 … and no pranks!