Vito and Mauro, years at the historic inn of the famous uncle and then setting themselves up: first the Fireplace, today at the Abbey
FOLLINA. “We have always worked very hard. But being restaurateurs, for us, is above all a great fun, ”he says Mauro. “We have been working together for 35 years and we are proud to have found the right balance to divide the tasks, him in the dining room and I in the kitchen, but also to face problems and share satisfactions”, echoes Vito, his older brother. The Osteria dai Mazzeri, in the shadow of the Cistercian Abbey of Follina, was born in 2006, but i Mazzero brothers they had already managed the nearby restaurant Al Caminetto for twenty years and, before that, they had worked for many years with their uncle Lino Toffolin in the famous Locanda da Lino in Solighetto.
“He was our great teacher of work and life,” he emphasizes Vito. «I entered his kitchen as a kid and stayed there for twenty years, trying to“ steal with my eyes ”the ingredients of his success, which were love for simple cooking and passion for creating each dish. In those years these hills, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were not a tourist destination, but he made them a destination for the beautiful world of the time, starting from the products and recipes of this territory then unknown to most people, as well as from its extraordinary availability with customers “.
Vito and Mauro’s parents also worked at Lino’s, heirs of a tradition already begun by their grandfather, who carried out wedding banquets in the homes of the spouses. And when the two sons started their own restaurant (a third took other professional paths), they followed and helped them. «Being able to count on the moral but also practical support of mother Giuditta and father Michele it was very important for us, ”says Vito. Also because, as Mauro recalls, «When we took the opportunity to manage Il Caminetto we only had the important experience gained in an exclusive world like that of the Locanda. We then plunged into a reality that we did not know: we became part of a restaurant scene that for many years had been mainly linked to weddings in the Abbey, until it was possible to celebrate them even among non-residents, and to banquets. It was instructive to enter this context and to deal with a clientele that was totally different for us ».
Osteria dai Mazzeri, Mauro Mazzero in the room
Shortly after the start of their management, the Caminetto was immediately included among Slow Food’s Osterie d’Italia, which has also repeatedly awarded them with the “snail” that marks those considered the best. “It was fundamental to make ourselves known by the many admirers of driving and movement”, explains Vito, “Also because the choices awarded by Slow Food, how to use always fresh and quality raw materials, purchased from small local producers or grown in our garden , are the foundation of our work ».
Everything was going well at the Caminetto, but the Mazzero brothers’ attention was captured by the restoration of the old town hall of Follina. “This building from 1701 that we moved to in 2006 struck us immediately,” recalls Mauro. «Among its exposed stone walls, and especially in the small gallery that was once communicating with the Abbey, you can breathe history and we liked to punctuate it with works of art and color to illuminate the austerity of the structure. We have a garden which we suffered from the lack in the previous location: it was precisely its beautiful external courtyard that convinced us to change location ». Mauro is also an attentive observer, who considers his work in the room a privilege to meet people and share experiences. Who analyzes the experience of the “Mazzeri” in this way: «We have experienced the many evolutions of this territory. From the heyday of uncle Lino, forerunner of the enhancement of these hills, to local tourism and the benefit of wedding banquets linked to the Abbey. We also experienced the period of important business lunches and dinners of a thriving local industry. Now the public has changed again and more and more international tourists are joining our local customers: an unthinkable target here only fifteen years ago. And they are stimulating patrons because they are the visitors of a world famous “land of wine”, who arrive with many questions, curiosities and experiences. Thanks to this new audience, our traditional cuisine is always in high demand, but in ever new ways. And we continue to enjoy ourselves more and more ».