Well it has been a while since my last post on il vino da tavola. When I look back it has been a crazy year. I don’t think I will experience to many like that in my working life.
Consider that Mondo Imports continues to grow not only in the amount we import (roughly 100 containers a year from Italy) but also creatively with many new wines we make ourselves in Italy. Whilst doing this, we have rebuilt (without losing an hour’s trade) our food and wine retail hub Boccaccio Cellars.
Already we have had great feedback from our customers and media about the new Boccaccio. With online foodie publication Broadsheet listing it amongst the ‘best speciality Italian grocers’ in Melbourne.
Pity the fool who turns his nose up at Boccaccio’s IGA branding. “Fifty years and still going strong,” the D’Anna clan likes to say, but really, its Boccaccio Cellars isn’t simply maintaining; it’s improving.
Freshly refurbished, the new store is striking. A mural of the eponymous Boccaccio – the 14th-century Italian writer, poet and imbiber – is an appropriate introduction to the acres of produce inside.
Boccaccio likes to boast of its 3000 wines. Many are from Europe courtesy of the D’Annas’ sister operation, Mondo Imports. But the family actually got its start in the 1960s delivering fresh bread, spaghetti and oil to the crowds of Italian migrants pouring off the boats into Melbourne’s growing suburbs.
The D’Annas still deliver – Australia wide these days – but its Balywn store is a mecca for hungry Melburnians. It’s a Mediterranean-influenced grocery, delicatessen, butcher, green grocer and bakery.
The in-house cheesemongers, Bernard and Jery, almost steal the show with their ridiculous array of European products, which include Tete de Moine from Switzerland and Reypenaer gouda from the Netherlands. Still, the gents are beaten out by what more or less amounts to a refrigerated installation-wall of prosciutto imported directly from Parma. Good luck leaving without any.
1030–1050 Burke Road, Balwyn
(03) 9817 2257
With this now complete and going great guns, I can focus ( well almost!) on doing what I love best, importing and selecting wines of interest from Italy.
We are lucky to have great staff in each department with four cheesemongers, three bakers, two Swiss butchers and a team of seven running our Italian built deli. With the retail arm in great hands, it means one thing: more wines from Italy!
Our latest project has been a $15 Toscana Sangiovese made exactly how I think Tuscan Sangiovese should taste like.
Respected wine journalist Campbell Mattinson, had this to say about the wine and we expect to import around 60,000 bottles of our Sangiovese next year which is a great start.
Good to back on my blog and hopefully it won’t be as long between posts in the future!!