Three Italian restaurants in SA receive ‘Italian Hospitality’ awardAugust 22nd, 2011 by Susan Reynard | Categories: beverages, food, hotels, industry, products, restaurants
The first awards ceremony of the “Italian Hospitality, Italian Restaurants in the World” project took place on 27 July 2011 at the Southern Sun Hyde Park hotel in Johannesburg. The event was organised by the Italian Chamber of Commerce and presided over by Elio Menzione, the Italian ambassador to South Africa.
Menzione has supported the project since its inception, which is aimed at protecting the “Made in Italy” promise from mediocre imitations. He believes in promoting the excellence of Italian food and cuisine for both Italian history and culture.
After a thorough assessment by the committee based in Rome, the three South Afircan Italian restaurants selected to receive certification were:
- Bice Ristorante in Southern Sun Hyde Park hotel, Johannesburg
- Il Tartufo in Hyde Park, Johannesburg
- Casa Toscana in Trafalgar, Durban
During the evening, Italian chef in charge of Bice restaurant, Daniele Fabris, treated guests to a variety of authentic Italian dishes. Bice Ristorante manager Roberto Mela and the hotel’s GM Nöel Macquet were delighted with the award and say it is a great milestone for the restaurant and property. As with many top hotels, they are keen for the restaurant to operate as a destination in its own right.
Macquet says: “Food combined with great service forms an intrinsic element in creating a memorable stay. Food is fuel but dining allows guests to connect with each other, whether they are here for business or leisure. We therefore pay particular attention to culinary offerings coupled with great service as well as design and decor settings. Global patronage brings with it a broad range of tastes and desires.”
He adds: “Most world class hotels have at least one superior, highly reputable restaurant – and we aim to make South Sun Hyde Park the foodies’ ‘destination of choice’ in Johannesburg, where guests and clientele create and enjoy memories to savour. We strive to set ourselves apart from other hotels, and the culinary offering constitutes one way of achieving this.”
This is the first Bice Ristorante to open in Africa, and is part of the Bice Ristorante Group managed by the Ruggeri family and now comprising some 40 restaurants around the world.
Other Italian brands on offer during the awards evening included cheeses by Puglia Cheese, wines by Idiom Wines served by Southern Sun’s group sommelier Miguel Chan, and Lavazza coffee. Co-sponsors included Fiat, SaicOlivetti, Ferrero, Lavazza, Southern Sun Hotels, Sace, DallaCia, Allos, Bottega Family – Idiom Wines, Cascina Belvedere and Avocado magazine.
The project was launched in 1997 by the Unioncamere and the National Institute of Tourism Research (ISNART) in collaboration with the Italian Federation of Public Enterprises (Fipe) and the operations support of Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
The main objective of “Italian Hospitality, Italian Restaurants in the World” is to select and promote Italian restaurants abroad that guarantee standards of Italian hospitality and offer services and products which carry the “Italian Hospitality” seal of approval.
Emphasis is placed on the recognition of Italian food origins, the development and promotion of traditional Italian food products and the enhancement of the Italian culinary and wine culture.
The project has attracted some 5 400 hotels, restaurants and guest farmhouses, in 80 provinces in 18 regions of Italy. Some 1 129 Italian restaurants in 45 countries worldwide have applied for certification through various Italian Chambers of Commerce in the past six months.
The awards made in South Africa are the first of its kind in the country. The organising committee will continue to liaise with restaurateurs to find new ways to improve the overall project.