Apparently, it's said in Italian that "the last is like the first". I prefer "better late the never" as that proverb doesn't confuse me.
In any case, we open the Cantina tonight at 5 for a little party then for dinner at 7:30. I am nervous, excited, exhausted, relieved and wide awake all at the same time - it's an odd feeling.
In all the years I've worked in a restaurant, I never actually contemplated how much work it is actually organizing the opening of one. The amount of things to think about are never ending. From pricing wine bottles, to deciding the beer list, to arguing about the cost of passion fruit and gluten free pasta - to painting wooden tables, cleaning sidewalks, trimming fig trees, drilling candle holders into stone walls...it really is a mountain of work and activity, on everyone's part. And one mountain I am more then a little glad to have finally climbed over.
As everyone has been musing about things being back to "normal" in Monterosso al Mare after the flood, I kept my mouth shut. For me, things were far from normal, as we spent hours every day musing every detail about our flooded little underground wine cellar, brand new and only 3 years old. After deciding to totally change it as we rebuilt, the decisions grew. It seemed like we'd never find a staff, deicide on a bathroom door or a price for a artiginale beer tasting, but we did.
I love the warm tones of the new Cantina, as opposed to the very modern, colored lights and bright blue walls of the old one. It feels like a comfortable room, informal, but classy.
And, as you will see from the pictures, it certainly makes you thirsty. The amount of wine and grappa and spirits we lugged into the Cantina definitely help it live up to it's reputation as the oldest wine cellar in this part of Monterosso. I'm waiting to post pictures because we are still getting our loose ends in order inside, and I want everyone to see it perfect - not with boxes on the floor.
I'm incredibly proud of Manuel and everyone who helped us rebuild, and I am so, so ready to start a normal life again here in Monterosso - and almost my second year living in Italy.
Cheers to the Cantina :)