Chapter 18

Our promotion in England

Since 2015, Jacques and I have been going to England several times to promote our business, it all started as a promotion of my town attending the Wedding Show Fair at Olympia Kensington in London and it is still continuing with Christmas Markets at Leeds Castle in Kent.

Each time we drive to England where we stay for a couple of weeks, it is our special time where we have the opportunity to catch up with our guests and friends, go pubbing – which is one of our specialties – buy the food and ales we love to bring home, shopping in my favourite places.

Everything is strictly and absolutely simple, authentic and spontaneous.

Both of us, we never do something calculating or expecting a result; we are used to live as we love, we take advantage of each opportunity and cherish each moment.

I think we have grown up very similar during these 30 years of marriage and we really enjoy doing everything together.

Because I am writing this Journal at the time of the corona virus, I must admit it is not hard to stay home for us because we have always worked from home, we have lots of hobbies and most of all, we love being together, with my mom and our son.

The decision to go to England was a great vision we had.

In times where people don’t explore not develop their creativity much and work only through the big online travel agencies (OTA) because it is easy and it is no effort, we have decided to go to our largest market and look out for new guests and connections!

The Wedding Show in London was our first experience , then we did Bluewaters Shopping Centre Wedding Show and another smaller wedding show in Kent at Deitling.

That was a project I developed over a couple of years of personal work which brought me in 2014 to be the chairman of the Tourist Board in town: I tried to develop promotion of my town by applying the scheme I use to promote my business.

We have beautiful monuments and a stunning Castle in Montichiari , therefore in two occasions, in 2014 and 2019, I tried to pursue this dream of mine to help my community but, unfortunately, I have not succeeded.

While I speak a common language, the language of open mind and heart, with my guests and any person I meet, I am not understood nor appreciated in my own town.

I have reached the point where I accept it and decided not to try any further. In the future, I will not offer my free contribution to promote our territory which has a huge potential, in my opinion, but I know for sure each of my efforts will be not pursued, on the contrary it will always be opposed.

Wedding shows showed me the potential.

I am still persuaded that for a British clientele a wedding in Italy is a fairytale.

This is why we now promote small weddings and special events in our home because we know they can turn out a success like our own wedding thirty years ago.

We have had lots of connections then and received an invitation to do British Food Festivals at Leeds Castle which we have done every year until they stopped the show at this location.

That was an amazing opportunity, we created a unique way to promote our business bringing the local food and wine to sell at stalls at the Castle.

Since the very first year we shave been selling two main hampers: a pasta hamper and a risotto hamper where all the main ingredients I use in my kitchen to cook with my guests are included.

Extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, rice for risotto Vialone Nano or Carnaroli, garganelli and tagliatelle – the type of pasta I teach during my classes, capers, anchovies, bruschetta sauce, dried porcini mushrooms, my own spices – one for pasta and bruschetta and one for risotto – chocolate, mostarda di frutta, my own limoncello, local red and white wines.

All of these goodies are of excellent quality and great taste, not expensive because we don’t put much margin, we see sales as a way to promote our business.

Also included in our Hampers are: my Cook Book and Vouchers for future stays here with us.

I was asked to do Cookery demos during the British Food Festivals and every day I had my own show showing how to make fresh pasta or risotto and then having the public taste my food.

That was one of the most incredible experiences: I had the privilege to get to meet amazing Chefs such as Reza, the King of Spices, Jean Christople Novelli, the Michel Star French chef, Patti Sloley, an amazing creative Chef born in Ghana who brings the colours and tastes of Africa, some Masterchef winners and lovely professionals.

The very first time I did it, I was very nervous but it only took me a couple of minutes to feel at home and entertain them as if it was my usual job.

I remember I made mistakes, nevertheless I managed to make all the audience interested and I interacted with some of them in a very lovely way.

I even had Jean Christophe Novelli, the celebrity chef, up on stage with me.

That was incredible, he admired my own way of making fresh pasta all by hands; he said I reminded him of his Italian grandma and that was a hell of a compliment, even though I was pretty quick in replying I was two years younger than him.

I am shy but once I feel comfortable I love entertaining and I felt so comfortable on stage!

At Christmas, we have been carrying on the same sales adding Christmas items such as small panettone, pandoro and torrone – nougat.

It has been phenomenal because we receive provisional bookings and much interest towards our business, usually in January the provisional bookings become firm bookings and we start our season already with a decent amount of bookings.

This is how we work: our approach is unique, personalized and authentic.

We have managed to turn our passions into a business which allow us to live and be happy.

We are not working to become rich, we are working to be happy.

Alessandro has already graduated in Spanish and English literature at the University of Trento and this coming summer, corona virus permitting, he will graduate in English and French translation and publishing.

We have paid his studies, we are not rich but we have no loans, no mortgages and we don’t run a pretentious life; we are happy working and making our guests happy.

Our biggest passion is travelling and we have been doing one trip to Kefalonia, one to Croatia and one to England each year in the last years. Before we always managed one trip to Spain or Portugal, France or Greece every year.

Travelling and getting to know other nationalities, culture, people wine and food is our great passion.

We have travelled extensively every year at least for two weeks since we have been married.

We have never been to Asia nor to the tropical islands, we are very fond of architecture, history and museums, so we have been enjoying the visits of 90% of Europe.

It is very hard to say what our favourite Countries are because we love all of them: Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Germany Norway, Greece, England and Wales, we haven’t been to a few others but hope to visit one day.

We love going to each Cathedral or small Church, each important Museum or small museum, we enter every site we see; we are interested and eager to learn.

Holidays are always a way of filling our heart and soul with information, images, colours, fragrances, art, history and that keeps us company all year long