A professional bartender and ad environmental animator, two passionate about cocktails and wild herbs and in love with their land, Apulia!
Professional bartender, sommelier, bartending teacher, passionate about wild foraging.
“I was born in Molise, a small region in the middle of Italy, but I spent most of my teenagehood in Salento, the bottom part of Apulia, Italy.
Since my very young age I’ve started working “far from home” and right after the end of highscool I’ve started to travel not only in different parts of Italy, but also abroad (Austria, UK and Thailand).
No matter where I was heading to, (especially in my ladder experiences) I always brought with me the curiosity to discover and use botanicals into my cocktails recipies.
I came back home in the 2016, and I’ve started to work in several local bars and restaurant, not only as a bartender but also as a consultant, that made me realize there was (a part for mint for mojito and few other common spices) a profound lack of knowledge about botanicals in the bars, so I took advantage of it and I’ve started to deepen and focus my studies on local wild herbs, experimenting new home-made drinks , infusions, liqueurs and bitters which would recall the flavours and taste of our typical wild flora locally called “macchia mediterranea” (mediterranean brush)
My personal motto is “ experiment having fun, always”: only if you keep testing and having fun, you never get bored and you never stop growing and you’ll end up becoming a better person without even realizing it”.
“I’m half Calabrian and half Apulian, in my life I can say I’ve always been in touch with nature, countryside and wild landscapes. I’ve being always fascinated about history and traditions, Italy is a country with a huge variety of them.
After many years of activities in schools teaching about fair trade, being also a partner of a fair trade shop, I decided to jump in sustainable and responsable tourism field, where I’ve been for 5 years chief and coordinator of a tour operator focused on apulian unique environment, traditions and sustainability.
After organizing several tours and trekkings I found myself always in contact with nature, so I’ve started to get more and more courious about the various local flora, for me it’s so spontaneous natural and efforless, it reminds my entire childhood…that’s probably where the sparkle has started but I was still not aware of.
Beside those studies, have also started to add in my “skill basket” efficient comunications, copywriting and marketing competences.
Meeting Elia I believe was not fortuitous, probably the right person at the right time, it was then easy to connect the dots”.
“Il Giardino sotto il Naso”
“Il Giardino sotto il Naso” litterally means “the garden under your nose”, so often we are surrounded of wild edible, sometimes in our backyard we have so many interesting plants, but we are just not aware of, even though they are right “under your nose”
We thought we could let people become more aware of what surrounds them by mixing our comptences, we combined then, the bartending, botanical, tourism and marketing worlds and here you go! It has been exactly like a cocktail recipies, we just had to find the right balance between the different ingredients!
Talking about plants sometimes it’s seen as a “Grandparents subject”, our goal was to communicate to young people as well, what a better way then talking about how to prepare “wild cocktails” with wild foraged stuff?
Elia: “When I came back in Italy in 2016 and my studies about the plant’s world were getting deeper and deeper, I’ve started to spread the word about what I was doing, more then 90% of people I was interacting with were not only curious but litterally fascinated about the subject, and at the same time often scared of picking “herbs” because not sure whether “good or bad” .
Due the sincere interest found, I’ve decided to create “IL GIARDINO SOTTO IL NASO” my best way to spread informations , so a Youtube channel, a facebook and instagram page popped out on internet!
That’s where the competence of Betty gave an extra kick to the whole project.
We wanted a connection between tourism, wild plants and bartending, something that could link also our perennial thirst of exploring and experiment .
Youtube channel was on-line, but we needed a special place to record different videos.
We focused on “easy to make at home” cocktail-recipies, and how to recognize, pick and get liquid ingredients out of wild plants and seasonal fruits.
The goal is to let non professionals bartenders and bar lovers having the right basics in order to have their informarmations about how to create home made cocktails from skratch.
Where should we record the videos?
Good question when you have limited budget. Being creative has never been a problem so we decided, in our country house to turn an old loft , where my grandparents used to store fodder for their animals, in a PRIVATE SPEAKEASY inspired to the one born in US during the prohibition period, here you have BAR MITA our private bar and recording set.
What do you do beside this intense on-line activities?
We collect wild herbs, especially local aromatic ones, in order to obtain syrups, infuses, liqueurs, bitters, fermented and so on ingredients then used in our “wild cocktails recipies” (most of them available on our youtube channel)
We created 3 unique products:
Amaro Satiro, first apulian savory bitter in the world (herbs collected inthe protected area of Parco Otranto –Leuca, Lecce)
Liquore Pineta, first apulian liqueur in the world made out of Pinus Halepensis baby pine cones (collected in Torcito Park in Cannole, Lecce),
Vermouth Mita the official red Apulian Vermouth made out of Salento’s Verdeca wine and 60 different botanical including Savoury, Helicrisum and olive leaves.
“Wild cocktails experience from plant to glass”: we’ve created a phisical and mental journey in the wild and aromatic plants world. Recognizing, touching, smelling and discovering all the use you can do at the bar, of course the whole experience ends up with a good wild cocktail for everyone!
Bar Mita: the wild bar catering in unsual locations. It is not a bar!
Well at least not a regular one, yes, because it’s not you coming to us but the other way around! Let’s say it’s a “wild” bar catering.
We are ready to give a “wild” original twist to your party or event, creating an unusual drink list based on seasonal fruit and wild herbs ingredients, in order to let the guests experience different and unique tastes.
In addition to that I keep teaching bartending, and doing consulting in bars and restaurants, in order to improve staff performances and income optimization.
Why a magpie on our logo??
“Mita” is one of the way we call in our dialect Magpie, it is also my family nickname since my greatgrandfather. Rumors says that one day a magpie landed on my great grandfather’s shoulder and there it stood all day long, since that day, my family has become “mita’s family”.
That’s why we’ve chosen this bird on our logo, of course a little contribution to my family and in addition to that, it reminds me all the time where I come from and the wild side hidden in everyone of us.
A legend says that the the only animal that refused to get inside Noha’s ark was the magpie, that prefered to perche on the ark’s roof . That’s why when a magpie builds a nest on a house’s roof it means that this building has been blessed.