Grappa in London according to Marco Gobbato
Born in Biella and living in London since 2006, Marco Gobbato has a full beard, a shrill voice and a deep passion for good food.
Food blogger, brand developer and future level 3 Wset, the most important international certification for tasters. «I love to cook, even without fully following the recipes to the end», this is what he usually says even if you meet him for the very first time. And he immediately appeals to you, because he does not approach food & wine like a teacher, but as a genuine lover.
Recently, Marco Gobbato*** had a nice chat with Lorenzo Marolo on his Instagram page, giving his British followers, who know grappa by hearsay and have often «misunderstood» it, the chance to know more about the beverage produced by this distillery from Alba.
We interviewed Marco Gobbato to understand how this Italian distillate, caught up in a whirlwind of gossip, legend and little direct knowledge, is seen in the UK.
Marco Gobbato, who is Marco Gobbato?
I was born in Biella in 1980. I went to London like many others to learn English and I stayed because it changed my life. I have worked for years in the restaurant and hospitality sector, specializing in the management of bars and pubs. Working at the counter is a really nice job, it is an enriching experience, but it also takes a lot from you. So, I decided to invest in communicating my passion for food & wine using social media networks and the web, and by collaborating to develop brands in this sector.
What relationship do you have with Italy?
Italy is the inspiration for my personal taste. It represents the joy of cooking, taking classic Italian dishes and making them according to my preference, even without following the entire recipe. Italy is a nostalgic feeling that I carry with me and, today, it helps me in my work, because I also spread a bit of Italy through my social media channels. Instagram is perfect for this purpose: people always eat and drink with the eyes first, rather than with the mouth.
If I say «grappa» in London, what usually comes to mind?
Italian grappa has a bad reputation until it is tasted. Here, they think it is a strong, virile and sharp alcoholic beverage, a burning drink with very bad quality. Wine culture is quite lacking, let alone that of pomace. However, when you begin to explain what grappa is and how it is produced, analyzing its flavors and nuances, then they understand that it is a noble product, and they fall in love with it.
So, how do we talk about grappa with the Brits?
Many would say that we need to begin with the basics: the raw material, the distillation method and the aging processes. But I believe that we must start from the end. Grappa needs to adopt a new way of communication and begin to speak the language of cocktails, which is much closer to the contemporary public. We could start to use grappa in cocktails and then take it out of the mix, enabling it to be appreciated on its own and in all of its different nuances.
During the Instagram live with Marolo, you suggested two grappa-based cocktails, can you tell us more about them?
The first is a Bloody Mary with Marolo Grappa di Gewürztraminer. Prepare the Bloody Mary base with tomato and rosemary juice, a drop of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste, and 35 ml of Marolo Grappa di Gewürztraminer. And it’s done. The aroma of grappa blends perfectly with the acidity of the tomato, creating a “juicy” and delicate encounter.
And the other?
A cold brew coffee with Grappa di Barolo 12 years. Mix coffee powder with water and leave it overnight in the fridge, so that the flavor is extracted slowly and delicately. Pour through a filter and put it in the shaker with sugar, ice, and Marolo Grappa di Barolo 12 years. Shake well and pour it in a Martini glass: here, they would call it «Martini espresso» or «coffee shake». Grappa gives it an added touch of unexpected sensorial depth.
So, is there a future for grappa in London?
Absolutely. It may be a niche product, but it is a drink that is yet to be discovered. And the British like new things. Especially those with high quality, which turn out to be excellent products.