did you ever meet someone and immediately feel her as a friend? This is what happened between me and Ilenia Vidoni. So I decided to tell her story and I reached her to the Osteria Ramandolo, on the eastern hills of Friuli Venezia Giulia(Italy), a place overlooking the beautiful balcony formed by the vineyards of our first DOCG.
It’s an historic inn, taken in management a year ago by Ilenia with her husband Pietro Greco, brilliant chef.
We meet Ilenia at lunch time. An awesome view! Terrace with tables overlooking the vineyards, next to the fifteenth-century church of San Giovanni Battista.
Before the interview, can’t miss a cheer with a ribolla yellow classic method in 2010, the “Sinefinis” (without borders), created by the producers Robert Princic (San Floriano del Collio) and Matjaz Četrtič (Brda, Slovenia). Here is the interview that quickly becomes a chat between friends.
What did you do before the current job and why you decided to become a restaurateur?
“I graduated from business studies and foreign language correspondent and then I worked for ten years in the foreign marketing, getting better with my English and German. To round off, in the meantime, I was a waitress in restaurants, then I became an AIS sommelier, I found the love and I decided to change my life by following my passion.”
The first steps in this world you have them moved in Alto Adige: what kind of school was?
“It has been a great experience and a great school: they are at the forefront in the organization and in the tourist offer. I worked as a sommelier in 5-star hotel, where I could propose foreign wines of high level to an international clientele.”
Then you decided together with Pietro to open your own activity. How important is it to work with a chef who is your husband too?
“We consider us as a close couple. For us it’s important to have a direct exchange dining room-kitchen, able to communicate the needs of the customers and to manage quickly the difficulties.”
On which basis do you choose the menu and how much local products are important? What novelties gastronomic have you introduced?
“We definitely depend a lot on the seasons. Never miss salami, some nice grilled meats, seasonal vegetables, in addition of course to the typical cuisine of Friuli. Then, as we are near to the Adriatic sea, we also wanted to include in the menu some fresh fish of the day. We think we have created a restaurant of good level with a right value quality-price.”
How is your Wine list?
“The restaurant-winery always offers wines by the glass or bottle. We just want to communicate the quality wines. Between my favorite labels are Anna Berra, Peter and Mary Cussigh, Bernardis, Dri and Monai. Among the wines of Friuli I choose the natives of different DOC, from other areas I prefer Alto Adige, Franciacorta, Toscana, Piemonte and Sicilia. But my favorite wines are whites macerated, the Castellada Oslavia and Castle Rubbia in the Carso of Gorizia. And never miss the Champagne.”
Do you have a secret dream?
“Yes. Being able to renovate the house and the restaurant along with the properties of the local Cooperative producers of Ramandolo then assign some rooms at B & B, pointing on our beautiful hillside location.”
So the interview is over and we can already smell the perfumes of the kitchen. I am ready to taste Pietro’s specialties. Here it is the menu of the day:
An initial of the revisited Carnic cuisine, the “Cjarsons da l’osterie” in which stand out the flavors well blended and the aroma of mint. In conjunction Ilenia wanted to dare the Ramandolo of Pietro Cussigh. The second is a Mediterranean redfish fillet in foil with a scenic presentation. Ilenia here chooses a wine from Carso, the Vitovska from Castello di Rubbia, whose producer is the young Natasa Cernic.
Dear readers here at Ramandolo’s Osteria hours have passed pleasantly fast.
I geet Pietro and Ilenia. Serious, professional … and in love!
Thanks to Patrizia Pittia for the interview.