Marika Biondo and Luca Giuliano, lead the kitchen of “Ristorante Sicilia,” a typical Mediterranean cuisine restaurant located in Basel, Switzerland. The restaurant has achieved ITA0039 Certification by Asacert, with Gold level.
Marika and Luca, with a deep knowledge of Italy, reveal the secrets of authentic Italian cuisine, based on genuine and simple products.
We ask them to share their story, what working abroad entails and how Italian cuisine is perceived.
What Italian city are you originally from, do you maintain relationships with Italy and your hometown?
We are originally from the province of Enna, Sicily. We have our families there, who support us with affection even from miles away.
Tell us your story: how the idea of the restaurant was born
We are Marika and Luca, a very young couple of 25 and 28 years old, we settled in Switzerland a good 5 years ago, started working in Italian bars and restaurants, and then matured the awareness of opening something of our own, where finally our ideas could take shape. And that is how Ristorante Sicilia was born. A restaurant that, although miles away, would somehow manage to make us feel closer to home, with the colors present in the location and with a menu faithful to our homeland in a more modern key.
What kind of cooking do you do? Describe to us a dish that is particularly popular with your restaurant’s customers
As already mentioned, our cuisine is typically Sicilian, with some Mediterranean hints. The most iconic dish is a dessert, the “Tirami-South,” a name born from a joke with the Staff, this due to the fact that we wanted to include a pistachio tiramisu on the menu, but since it was not the original recipe it was not correct to call it precisely tiramisu. It looks like a simple tiramisu, but with a milk sauce and a pistachio-flavored mascarpone cream. What makes it special is the effect it had on customers; at first we had to explain what it consisted of, but as time went on, it was our customers who were asking for it and, more importantly, calling it Tirami-South. So it is the only dish that was born and has remained on our menu.
What do you think is the secret of the worldwide success of Italian cuisine?
For us, the flavors, aromas and traditions of Italian cuisine, are and will forever remain the foundation of the worldwide success of our cuisine.
Is there any advice you would give to tourists who choose an Italian restaurant abroad?
Unfortunately, abroad we come across fake Italian restaurants all the time. What we can advise all tourists to do is to read up well on Italian restaurants in the places they visit.
Describe three reasons why a customer should enter your restaurant.
There are more than three. Diversity: we offer a menu with different products than restaurants in our area.
Our wine list focused mostly on wines and grapes not yet well known from our homeland.
Our young age, followed by our passion, this allows us to devote ourselves full time to our project and our customers, creating a perfect combination.
What prompted you to apply for ITA0039 | 100% Italian Taste Certification?
Wanting to communicate to customers our strong commitment and passion to offer a 100% certified Italian restaurant.
Stefano, like many other restaurateurs, has dedicated his life to bringing authentic Italian cuisine with its products, across national borders. ITA0039 is more than just a certification: it increasingly represents the symbol of excellence that can truly make the difference between fake and original, playing a crucial role in the defense of Italian agri-food products against the phenomenon of Italian Sounding.