Bianchi Café & Cycles on Gastronomy and Saddles
What will you do when your son goes back home? You welcome him with a party!
Yet Bianchi Café & Cycles isn’t a story of a prodigal son. It’s a lifestyle and tradition that dates back in 1885. Before the stopwatch strikes, Bianchi races back home on it’s 130th anniversary of foundation. Milano, in the city where it was born. In the city where the Grimaldi founder had once nurtured the divine passion or the so called “passione celeste.” Now, it’s back with flying colors just a few meters from Duomo in San Babila at Via Cavallotti 8.
Yesterday, I was listening to the owner Salvatore Grimaldi who reached the threshold of success when he transferred to Sweden from his hometown of Puglia . . .
“Looking at the interior points of the traditional sales – says Grimaldi – I realized that we needed a place that had a precise personality, that transmits the exclusiveness of the products and the Italian Bianchi. Hence the idea to combine the bike what most characterizes Italy in the collective imagination: creativity, design, art, food, wine . . . I’m happy for this to bring the Bianchi Cafè & Cycles in the heart Milan.”
This concept went full swing in 2010 with the opening of the first Bianchi Cafè & Cycles in Stockholm, then followed by a café in Tokyo, Japan and three additional openings in Sweden, Salen, Malmo and Vasteras and the latest Milan, Italy.
What I am loving about the idea of having a café with bicycles is the unique approach combining the sporty lifestyle and modernizing Italian cuisine. Grimaldi also said it’s not just a place to sell bicycles or buy some bread. The great pieces of art can’t be sold the traditional way, this is a foot on the door to understand the way how the best clients think. On my opinion these haute-bikes, were given value just like a piece of painting in a museum or like a designer limited edition shoes. However, the starting point is also to provide a venue for sports-minded Milanesi to gather around and stay connected, according to Chef Davide Oldani. I was also fortunate to encounter Chef Francesco Crocco of Poldo Pasticceria, the café’s supplier of pastries from Pontedecimo, Genoa who created the menu for the press lunch and the strawberry “semifreddo” ice cream topping them with marshmallow Bianchi wheels, bottles and saddles. He was famous for his “cioccolatini al pesto” a basel-based chocolate that the Queen of England orders annually.
Everything on this café is personalized from plates to cups – all signed with their logo and bikes. We were also toured from third floor down to the basement; clean Swedish interior with three tones: turquoise, white and silver and evidently the Italian history and the famous moments in sports by Bianchi bicycles mounted on every corner. There is also a corner with comfy sofas where you can just chill and work on your mac. The whole area is wi-fi free. They have plenty of wine lists and many variety of aperitivo.
I was thankful to be able to experience to what Grimaldi would refer as the “Italianism” – either it maybe the art and science of living, a state of mind or just the way of rearing. But by any chance, I’d like to make a toast to welcome home the Bianchi Cafè & Cycles! Just like any son, it has come back to his parents, his origins and to the Milanesi people. Here home in Milan, where his heart first started to beat!
Davide Oldani, chef and sports enthusiast with Salvatore Grimaldi, businessman and owner of Bianche Cafè & Cycles