French haute cuisine increasingly Italian

Carniato Europe, wholesale numbers since July up 15%

25 November, 12:02

    Mozzarella and tomatoes, a classic Italian dish Mozzarella and tomatoes, a classic Italian dish

    (by Alessandra Moneti)

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - French haute cuisine is increasingly Italian with menus in Paris rarely foregoing dishes with balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italian extra-virgin oil, ricotta, burrata and mozzarella di bufala cheese or mascarpone for tiramisu'.

    Italian wines are also gaining the spotlight not just in bistrots or wine lists at Michelin-starred restaurants but also in the homes of French wine connaisseurs, as noted at a forum on the internationalization of wine and food - Food and Book - by Bruno Colucci, who has led the sales department of wine and food distributor Carniatio Europe for the past 30 years, the 'valve delivering to France over 2,500 Italian-made products'.

    On July 1 this year Carniato Europe renewed its retail place inside the Rungis general markets - the largest in Europe which replaced Les Halles in Paris - to open the first Italian Cash and Carry in France, investing some 1.5 million euros in the operation.

    'They are beautiful spaces conceived by two Italian architects to enhance our excellent food and wine products so they can become 'jewels' on display along linear counters', said Colucci, adding that 'in the first four months of activity, turnover went up 15% and we believe will touch 7 million euros at the end of the year although the crisis is also affecting the French'.

    'We have 8,500 clients - 80% pizza places - a high percentage which is however decreasing due to the growing number of haute cuisine operators, not just Italian emigrants as happened when the group was founded'.

    Colucci said Carniato worked hard to make Italian restaurants more relevant abroad by encouraging them to use top quality products - something which he believes was key in the growing influence of Italy in haute cuisine. 'We decided to abandon large-scale retail trade and tried to improve what was offered to Italian pizzerias to reintroduce Italian noble products', he said.

    Now pizza is made with real mozzarella and not with "analogue" cheese produced in Belgium and the Netherlands. And this first Cash and Carry will be the Trojan Horse to bring Italian hand-made products to France and to introduce them without intermediaries to an increasingly savvy consumer, who is curious and often has great food and wine culture, said Colucci: 'Entering into everyday French consumption is our future and the development force for Italian-made exports'.

    The group was founded in the 1950s by the Carniato brothers from Treviso and bought in 1987 by leading cooperatives including wine producers, starting with Gruppo Italiano Vini (Giv, which has 65% of shares), which is among top Italian producers with 2.5 million high-quality bottles from the prized Valtellina cellars Nino Negri to Sicily's Rapitala' for a total of 14 cellars in 11 regions and 1,340 hectares of vines.

    Grandi Salumi Italiani, Gruppo Cevico and Cantine Riunite Civ are also important shareholders.

    Overall Carniato Europe has 170 employees, 15,000 square metres used as deposits or for logistical purposes for a turnover totalling 57 million euros.(ANSAmed).

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