We are three weeks away from finishing the redevelopment of our retail hub which will encompass the best of food and wine, anywhere in Australia.
The build which is running a month ahead of schedule has been pretty easy considering the logistics involved in keeping everything operating.
Yesterday three semi trailers of refrigeration cases arrived and next week the remainder of shelving will be installed. After that, it is just commissioning and filling this massive space.
Already the response from the public and industry has been fantastic and I can’t wait to fast forward a few years to see what it is able to achieve. After September, it is back to my day job of focusing on Mondo Imports.
For the last fifty years, our family business interests have covered importing, retailing and making wines from both Australia and abroad. Over the last year, our retail outlet Boccaccio Cellars has been redeveloped and refurbished to try and showcase what we do across all our businesses.
Our store Boccaccio is names after the Tuscan Poet Giovanni Boccaccio and we thought we would honour him by a special mural painted on the entrance to our Continental Supermarket and Wine Store. This week this mural was completed and illustrates to people that they have walked into a pretty unique store.
On the painting:
In this group portrait, six distinguished poets and philosophers of the 13th and 14th centuries are shown as if engaged in a literary conversation. Each was revered for his role in the development of lyric poetry, which helped establish the Tuscan dialect as the standard language in Italy.The seated figure is Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), author of the Divine Comedy. Facing him is Guido Cavalcanti (about 1255-1300), acclaimed for his love sonnets. The standing figure in clerical garb is the humanist and classical scholar Francesco Petrarch (1304-74); to his right is Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-75), author of the Decameron. The figures at the far left are two authoritative commentators on their works, the humanist and man of letters Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) and the platonic philosopher Cristoforo Landino (1424-1498/1504). All four wear laurel wreaths, symbolic of literary achievement. The objects on the table represent various scholarly disciplines. The solar quadrant and celestial globe denote astronomy and astrology; the compass and terrestrial globe, geometry and geography; the books, grammar and rhetoric.
The redevelopment of our Italian supermarket is going full steam ahead with stage 2 opening in June. We will have some big announcements in the next few weeks but this deli, custom built in Florence and shipped to Oz has certainly got me excited for what we are going to do. The question is, how are they going to fill it?
Well it was good to get back in Australia after a great trip away. After Calabria and Sicily, we spent one night in Rome and I always find that it is a great way to end the trip. The highlight was dinner at Armando al Pantheon which I love to eat at, and typifies everything I love about Italian food and wine.
I have certainly hit the ground running with Letizia from Passopisciaro due in Oz this weekend for a number of consumer and trade events around Melbourne and Sydney. This Sunday, the 12th of April, Letizia will be hosting free vertical tasting at Boccaccio Cellars from 11am-1pm looking at 5 vintages back to 2007 of the Passopisciaro Etna Rosso. She will also be hosting similar events in Sydney next week.
We are also proud to announce that Mondo Imports will be representing the wines of Emidio Pepe in Australia. These wines should arrive in June and we will have multiple vintages of the Montepulciano and Trebbiano. Once these wines arrive, I will hold a number of masterclasses ad tastings to show people just how good they are.
Finally the new supermarket redevelopment is going great guns with the newt stage opening in June. This will encompass our glass prosciutto cool room, new registers, new deli built in florence and big new supermarket entry. The redevelopment will finish in September with the whole site being redeveloped.
What sort of Italian-Australian doesn’t like concrete! Today the trading floor slab of the new Boccaccio Continental Supermarket was poured. This will be polished and when stage 2 of the redevelopment is opened in April, it will form part of the new entry, checkouts, Italian deli and prosciutto glass Coolroom. Should be pretty cool!
When you renovate (or in our case redevelop) you never know what little surprises will be thrown up along the way. When you add in a structure that was built by my family 40 years ago (with the use of a lot of concrete) sometimes the things that look easy, turn out to be quite hard!!
Take for example the flooring for the new wine shop about 50 metres down the road. Old fashioned terracotta tiles 15mm thick were originally used in our original store 40 years ago. A sample patch done by the builder caused no issues: the tiles came up easily and the concrete underneath was polished. Well that small section was not representative of the whole store and it has been a bugger of a job for the builder to remove all the tiles (which they have had to do by end, not with a machine) and this has taken a week longer than originally anticipated. Well last week we had success and all the tiles were removed and grinding has begun to polish the concrete below.
Cool rooms, wiring, etc are now going in and it should be a big week ahead.
Anthony D'Anna: Italian wine importer and merchant in Australia