When bread and Champagne meet: in Catania, Sicily and France are closer than ever
The most well-known product made by transalpine cousins is often associated with exclusivity and luxury. Three entrepreneurs from Catania boldly prove the opposite by offering the French sparkling wine with local products
In one of those streets, that by day seem to be anonymous and come to life at night swarmed with people, who cheers and nibble something, a new reality that was still missing in the nightlife of the city appears: the first champagneria. An ambitious idea conceived by three friends and entrepreneurs Alfio Neri, Michele Tomaselli and Salvo Benuardo: release the French bubbles from their aura of inaccessibility by proposing them in an informal environment and combining them with Sicilian specialties and more.
BREAD, MORTADELLA AND CHAMPAGNE. «Champagne ‒ they said ‒ is a wine, and as such, you can always drink it. It’s not necessary to have something to celebrate or a fancy dinner. You can sip it while eating a mafaldina and mortadella too». Hence the name of the diner: Pamochã bread-mortadella-champagne. Mafaldina, a typical loaf of bread from Catania, made in miniature and served warm with a slice of fresh mortadella to welcome people, and all accompanied by a slightly acidic, and therefore easier on an empty stomach, champagne.
LUXURY DELICATESSEN. Therefore, not only champagne but also deli food, cheeses and raw fish: «The concept was born with a cuisine without burners, except one used to make some eggs» said the owners. As soon as you enter, you find a counter with display of deli food and cheeses not only local but French and Spanish too. Everything to taste in loco or to buy with the take away service, that attracts many tourists who bring various delicacies home. One of the owners, not by chance, is the son of a historic delicatessen owner from Catania, who was always used to give visitors a sample of his products accompanied with good wine in his shop. In this respect, the three friends highlighted: «We didn’t invent anything, we just want to make champagne available to everyone, offering a wide range of over 200 labels».
WINES, BARONS AND BUBBLES. «Champagne is like a person with which make friends: there’s not an objectively better one, you choose it according to personal taste» affirmed the baron Roberto Beneventano della Corte, CEO of Steinbrück Italia, that deals with the selection of high- quality wines from all over the world. Half-French, the baron grew up with bread and bubbles: his first childhood memory is linked to the bottles of champagne which accompanied family meals. Hence, his support to Pamochã with which he shares the desire to make the lightness of bubbles available to all. «It’s hard to produce champagne but it’s easy to drink. Some types require years of leavening and ageing: wine, if properly kept, is like a person with good genes who lives healthily. So, it can only age well» claimed the baron properly, who has drunk (oops! I mean has dealt with) champagne for fifty years.
When bread and Champagne meet: in Catania, Sicily and France are closer than everNIGHTLIFE IN THE HISTORIC CENTRE. Finally, their choice of the shop should be mentioned: it consists of a ground floor with stone vaulted ceilings located in a small street connecting the market to the central via Umberto. One of those once disreputable areas, but which now was revitalized thanks to the audacity of many young entrepreneurs including Alfio, Salvo and Michele.
Translated by Daniela Marsala