This is not a cliché.

October 2013

01 October 2013

Give space to dreams!

“The real wise person is he or she that construes life in terms of moderation, of just measures, and of a certain equilibrium, leaving behind turmoil and passions”, so wrote Democrito.
I came to learn that it is Nature and not man which determines things
Such sentiment is easy enough to state but a lot more difficult to put into operation - especially when speaking of entrepreneurial matters. Many is the time when you have to fix an objective and pursue it with energy and determination, at times spending nights studying the “best solutions”, at times battling against everyone and everything, as in those occasions when there is no money to be had and nobody believes in you. Such was the experience of a young man from Turin who wanted to produce the best ice-cream in the world. Some years ago he attended a trade fair with the aim of buying his first really large fridge. Convinced of his way of thinking he wanted a special fridge which did not display the ice-cream but which contained lots of cylinders and covers. On hearing this request the owner of an important producer, one well established in the ice-cream world, refused to sell him a fridge: “I only sell my fridges to those who will be able to pay me for them and you will not be able to as you will go bust within 6 months – you can’t sell ice-creams if you cannot see them!”, was his justification, and so the young man’s dream was in danger of being smashed at outset! The young man in question is Federico Grom and he has just opened his 66th ice-cream shop, many of them being overseas. Federico is certainly worthy of mention for he belongs to that great tradition of free spirits who have been able to look beyond the easy to achieve objective and set themselves a far more difficult target.
I have been fortunate to meet this young businessman and we spent some good time together: I got to know a really kind person, always smiling, and with an easygoing manner. Do not be deceived however, for his pleasant demeanour hides a fierce determination. This notwithstanding, his focus is not on “competition” but on “cooperation”. The secret of his success is not based on bluffing but on quality: the quality of Bigonte pistachio, of Piemonte nuts, of fresh in-season fruit - the type you can get from the best Italian producers or from the company Mura Mura from Costigliole d'Asti, it specialising in bio-fruit production. And as you might expect there are no colouring additives or sprays, nor preservatives of any description. What we do find is the use of Sparea spring water for sorbets and whole fresh milk of superior quality for ice-creams. Eggs used are from hens kept in open range conditions, and excellent cacao and coffee from Central America.
“I came to learn that it is Nature and not man which determines things”. It was Paul Pontallier who explained this to Federico, the same man who also gave a lot of insight to me when i met him at Chateau Margaux. The words of Paul Pontallier gave rise to the dreams of Federico and of these dreams we find reference in the second chapter of the book “Grom – Storia di un'amicizia, qualche gelato e molti fiori” ( in English the title woud be “Grom – story of a friendship, some ice-cream and many flowers “)
In substance the message is ‘gift to yourself the dream that you wish’. Yes it is true that one needs to be a little childlike, to play, to smile, to wish well for oneself, to be curious , and to be honest. These may seem words and qualities essential to the cause and readily understood but it is not necessarily so. And neither should it be taken for granted that in searching for our equilibrium we will necessarily find it. This is the stuff of life: ask and you may be rewarded but on the other hand if you are not demanding of life and in life you will have to make good with that which comes to you.
The first snow has fallen, even at quite a low altitude! In the sky white clouds hug to the mountain peaks. They seem to be delicate creations and it makes me happy when I see them, a kind of gentle melancholic ease. Everything seems so fleting today. In an instant Nature seems to passing from green to white, with the occasional yellow of larch branches intercepting and yet uniting the flow of colour. I realise that we need to have fun and to celebrate Beauty in the little time that we have available here on Earth. Fun is not necessarily a self indulgent pastime but more intended in the sense of enthusiasm in pursuing our objectives.
The objectives of my family and our fantastic team of staff are to do our work with a sense of service and respect. We now have the fortune to be able to manage the Berghotel Ladinia, which is right close by Hotel La Perla. It is a little gem – an old structure, simple, but with a certain facination. It is number 1 in the municipal village register – just think of that, a real ‘berghotel’, a mountain hotel, a refuge for mind and body, full of history and tales. We said to ourselves it was a stroke of fortune. Who knows? We shall certainly enjoy ourselves going about it all!
May we ask what you think!? Do you think that fortune is a sufficient explanation in itself? Are we in the hands of destiny alone? Or is it pure coincidence of circumstance? Does such really exist?
I would really like to hear your reflections with regard to the above.
Any thought or thoughts you may have is more than welcome for when i think about it the real fortune of a host such as myself is to enrichen myself by getting to know more about my guests and the stories they have to tell. These stories may be told in occasion of a stay at our hotel but equally so they can be effectively told by putting down that what matters in writing !
Thank you.
michil costa