Simple recipes, quality, organic and eco-sustainable ingredients: that’s Parma di Vini Benedetti philosophy. Located at 31 Utrechter Straße, it is not a simple restaurant: it is restaurant, wine shop, delicatessen shop and meeting place at the same time.
Philippe Benedetti opened it in 2014: “The concept behind my philosophy is counting on ingredients quality as well as offering my clients something that goes beyond products themselves. I like making them more aware about organic food and sustainability; I try to teach them to live their relationship with food with lightly as it should be in life in general” tells us Philippe.
The place has a minimalist flavour and perfectly shows the permanent connection between art and gastronomy: “Inside there are about 40 covers. I refurbished and furnished it by myself: cement minimalism matches with wood heat that in turn matches with other materials like marble or plastic.” Philippe Benedetti, coming from Parma (Italy), has lived in Germany for 16 years; he defines himself as an artist: ”art as a vocation and education” he says. After having graduated at Weimar University in Freie Kunst (fine arts), he moved to Berlin in 2004: “At the beginning I managed a gallery and an artists residence in Wedding (district of Berlin); then I became father: in that period I used to spend a lot of time at cooking. It was difficult to find good products in Berlin that’s why I decided to procure them on my own; I started going to Italy by car in order to come back to Berlin with my car full of good products like wines, cheeses, ham. I’ve always loved inviting friends at home and then eating together, since I was at University and used to organise vernissages: but it was then that I realised that my guests were more interested in my wines and in what I cooked than in my exhibits. In the same way when I started bringing Italian products to Berlin, I realised that people started accepting my invitation more gladly; that’s why I decided to invest on these products and to resell them: I founded Vini Benedetti firm and I started to sell them in markets. It lasted three years, I went from Kollwitzplatz to Hansaplatz and Wittenbergplatz markets, then I was offered a place where I opened Parma and where today I sell products from Vini Benedetti firm.”
“My suppliers are mostly friends and acquaintances. In my recipes I use Puglissima oil that is Apulian oil obtained from coratina olives with a strong flavour, and Cotta oil, a light Ligurian oil obtained from taggiasche olives. I use organic flours coming from Mulino Silvestre in Umbria (Italy): this mill dates back to the year 1000 and it is basically a watermill that grinds only Italian high quality seeds. Organic pasta is produced in Tuscany by Valentini and it is obtained by Senator Cappelli wheat. Moreover we use “Parmigiano Reggiano delle Vacche Rosse”: it is a particular type of parmesan made in Reggio with the milk of the ancient local breed of “red cows”. “Pecorino” is the one produced in “Ecofattorie Sabine” (a farm near Rome that produces different types of cheeses with the rules of organic agriculture). Concerning hams, we breed Demeter certified “cinta del Brandeburgo” pigs (german breed of pigs) in a farm managed by a non-profit Steiner community, then hams are produced and made finished products in a cured meat factory in Parma. Slaughterhouses, warehouses and cured meat factories I work with are biodynamic: it means that they take care of animals health and of products quality. We serve natural wines with a very few of sulphites: my wines come from Friuli, Marche, Umbria and Donati (Parma) wine cellars, but I also work with Cantine Sant’Ambroes in Berlin where I buy wines coming from other regions of Italy.”
“Our menu changes depending on my mood and inspirations and over the past few months also depending on Luca’s inspirations. There is not only one recipe for each dish. According to our philosophy the only constants are simplicity and quality”, tells us Philippe introducing his collaborator as his right hand man: “Luca moves from the kitchen to the dining hall but he also goes in the warehouse. Here everyone does everything. We are a good team and a great group. Thanks to our synergy and to our products high quality we make amazing dishes. Lately our clients seem to appreciate the most our stuffed focaccia: it is stuffed with Branchi cooked ham that is produced in Parma and made with rumps which first are tied with hands and then cooked, and also stuffed with aubergines, mozzarella, Apulian organic tomatoes, oil, salt, pepper, basil and if you want you can also add chilli pepper (we only serve fresh chilli pepper). Other specialties we offer are white pizza seasoned with tomatoes, aubergines and Neapolitan fior di latte mozzarella, selection of cold cuts matched with focaccia, tortelli di Parma stuffed with ricotta and herbs or pumpkin and potatoes, Genoese gnocchi seasoned with meat and onion gulasch. As side dishes we offer natural cooked vegetables, salad with ricotta, walnuts and mushrooms or with beans, cappers, spelt, egg, radish and seasoned with taggiasche olives oil and vinegar.”
Simplicity and excellence is what characterises dishes as well as furniture in Parma restaurant. “Parma is synonymous of quality, both in Italy and abroad. It is also a simple term to pronounce and to recognise. There couldn’t have been a better title to include the essence of my restaurant.”
Parma di Vini Benedetti
Utrechter Str. 31, 13347 Berlin
Open everyday from 10 am to 11 pm
Tel. +49 (0)30 49089885
Mail: [email protected]
Translation edited by: Giacomo Martella