Antica Macelleria Falorni from Chianti to Hong Kong
Greve in Chianti is a little town about thirty kilometres from Florence, on the Chianti road that connects the regional capital and Siena. It is not just one of the wine capitals branded with the Black Rooster and a tourist destination for millions of visitors all over the world, but for some time it has also been famous for what is now considered a local institution: the Antica Macelleria Falorni. It’s virtually impossible to visit Greve and not stop by the characteristic shop under the porticoes of the beautiful Piazza Matteotti. Just the hams and salamis hanging outside the door are enough to draw you inside, where you will find the brightlycoloured products of the historic butcher’s shop to welcome you.
An almost three-hundred-year-long history of Antica Macelleria Falorni
It is historic because Falorni has been in Piazza Matteotti since 1806, but the shop-keeping tradition dates back to even earlier. Today it is run by two brothers, Lorenzo and Stefano Bencistà (70 and 68 years old respectively), Venturina Falorni and Raffaello Bencistà’s sons. It is thanks to them if the fame of their butcher’s shop has really taken off during the past few decades, even outside local, regional and national boundaries, to become a quality brand of Tuscan products. For almost three centuries and nine generations, the Bencistà Falorni family (the double-barrelled name is a recent acquisition) has handed down the secrets of making high-quality cured meats from father to son, secrets based on using pigs reared in the wild, together with the skilful dosing of Chianti Classico wine, herbs and spices.
The Cinta Senese pig
The family also owns a small farm for breeding the Cinta Senese pig, which is also used to breed the famous Grigio, a pig obtained from a Cinta Senese mother and a Large White father. “It is the best breed for making quality cured meats, one of the few left from the past,” says Stefano. Enthusiasm, respect for tradition and a strong link with the territory are the values that their production philosophy is based on.
Not just cured meats
What is most striking, though, is the entrepreneurial spirit and dynamism that have driven the Bencistà Falorni brothers to broaden their interests, though remaining tied to the territory and its products, and where wine obviously plays a role at the forefront, together with cured meats. In fact, a few years ago, the old wineries of the Union of Chianti Wine Producers were bought and transformed into a huge wine shop (with over a thousand wines, the biggest in Chianti) that recently started doing cured meat and cheese tastings.
The Chianti Lounge
They have called it the Chianti Lounge because, in addition to the normal tasting and buying of wines and products, every Saturday and Sunday evening you can dine à la carte with musical accompaniment. And that’s not all, because the structure will also be used for professional sommelier and wine lovers courses, meetings with producers and cultural evenings. It is a beautiful setting, with areas to relax, where the client can “draw” a glass of wine directly from the Enomatic dispenser.
Enomatic also creates a dispenser for sparkling wines
And here we find another inspired idea by Lorenzo and Stefano. They invented these useful wine distributors and Enomatic is one of their companies that has become famous all over the world in just a few years. The debut of these machines dates back to the opening of the wine shop in the underground cellars in the centre of Greve in Chianti. They are the pioneers of this equipment not only for still but also sparkling wines. In fact, Enomatic has recently put on the market a specific dispenser for sparkling wines that is meeting with huge success, especially in France, also an excellent market for distributing still wines.
The new generation
“Unfortunately, competition has recently arrived on the market,” says Lorenzo, “although Enomatic is still the undisputed leader. In the US, for example, there are problems defending patents, so they have started producing their own machine of this kind there too; whereas in China they have simply copied us, therefore there is no point in going there to promote it. Therefore we are playing on the concept of innovation, although it is a difficult road.” The most important development in the Bencistà Falorni family, however, is undoubtedly the recent generational handover. Lorenzo has three children (Gianni, Tommaso and Chiara, the last two are twins) and Stefano has two (Caterina and Andrea): it will soon be their turn to take over the reins of the various family activities.
From Italian Wine Chronicle 3/2015. Read for free the magazine