The Good Food Guide and Accolades

Pretty much since the beginning of time, or at least since the year after we opened in 1999, we have been included in the most reputable guides. Recognised by the critics, applauded by the foodies and we won some fabulous awards along the way too. Boboli also gained recognition as soon as we opened the doors in 2007.

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Next week sees the release of the latest Good Food Guide, the 2020 edition, and we are so very happy and extremely proud of our wonderful teams as both The Lighthouse and Boboli feature. In fact, there are nine listings for our county, Leicestershire and Rutland, two of which are us! 

But what is it that the restaurateur seeks?  Do we chase the stars and hanker after the accolades that may be bestowed upon us by the critics and the guides, or do we keep our heads down, focus on the quality, look after our customers, and hope that rest will follow? I suspect in all honesty that it is a combination of the two, plus a healthy dose of looking after our team and the business to ensure that it is sustainable. Preening our feathers and patting ourselves on the back often leads to taking one’s eye off the ball!!

Historically critics and restaurateurs enjoy, if that’s the word, something of a love hate relationship. . . they just can’t help loving hating each other, and hate loving each other too!  Truth be known, our egos get in the way, of course they do.  We all love to be praised, and see our names in print, but we are incensed when the critics get it wrong, or in our view get it wrong.  It’s the unanswerable question of who knows best and just how objective are we able to be about our own place? 

Equally the critics love the sound of their own voices, by their very existence they have their own egos to massage!  With the added complication of social media and open platforms inviting the public to critique us too, it is something of a minefield to manage.

Meanwhile, us restaurateurs continue to beaver away, hoping that the people eating today will appreciate our efforts, and that we will get it right for all the people all of the time!  Above all, hoping and praying that our passion, and love, for this crazy, crazy business will be rewarded with success.

Of the guides and critics, we could wax lyrical for hours, but it is really the approval of our customers we most seek.  Your recommendations are what really make the difference; it’s not about jumping through hoops to please the powers that be, but pleasing you, the diner, who lives down the road, and visits because you want to, because you like what we do.

For that support and encouragement, we say Grazie Mille

S xxx


20TH ANNIVERSARY QUIZ

Q8  What year was Firenze first listed in the Good Food Guide?

Q9  What year was Boboli first listed in the Good Food Guide?

Just answer in the comments below and we’ll enter you into our prize draw celebrating our 20th anniversary!  (Please be sure to put your email address on your comment so that we can contact you if you’re one of our lucky winners)

Look out for other 20th anniversary quiz questions on our future blog posts.  Prize draw winners to be announced on 1st January 2020.

Olive Trees and Olive Oils

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At Boboli we are very proud of our beautiful olive trees, I bought the 4 lining the edge of the terrace along with the laurels some 12 years ago, the two smaller ones we inherited and the rather splendid affair in the middle of the terrace is shared ownership with my lovely friend Julia. . . well, the tree is hers but I have nurtured and tended to it for a couple of years now and it’s loving the love.

So, what about olive oil and virgins and all that!!! What really makes Olive Oil Virgin!???

Virgin Olive Oil means that the oil is made simply by the pressing of the olives and has not been subject to any industrial processes thus refining and diluting the finished product.  Extra Virgin is made from cold pressed olives, it’s the highest grade of olive oil that you can lay your hands on and should really give you the flavour of fresh olives.

The whole process is extreme and requires great skill and commitment, using the freshest possible olives and all in prime condition, the pressing process is constantly monitored and then the actual storage is critical to ensure that the oil is kept perfectly stable and in it’s very best condition.  Oil will always degrade over time, but the Extra Virgin examples even more so and they are generally best consumed within two years.

So, look for a grassy and peppery sensation in your mouth and you are onto a good thing. . . these are the unique qualities of the best olive oils, although some of the riper, black olives will present with more fruit and floral characteristics.  Olive Oil is also full of nutrients and arguably one of the best natural fat intakes we can hope for.

When pottering around the Markets in Italy, Spain and France, I am magnetically drawn to the fabulous Olive, spice and tapenade stalls. . . just too good to miss!

At The Lighthouse and Boboli we use rapeseed oil too, but in a dressing where it really counts it has to be Virgin Olive Oil!

From trees to fruit to magical pressings, the oil is where it’s at, though I doubt that our trees at Boboli will bring in much of a harvest!

Ciao for now!

Sarah x

20TH ANNIVERSARY QUIZ

 Q6 What year did I buy the olive trees at Boboli

Just answer in the comments below and we’ll enter you into our prize draw celebrating our 20th anniversary!  (Please be sure to put your email address on your comment so that we can contact you if you’re one of our lucky winners)

Look out for other 20th anniversary quiz questions on our future blog posts.  Prize draw winners to be announced on 1st January 2020.

 

Romance in the city, an ode to Firenze.

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Firenze . . . or Florence . . . The city of romance, or at least it was for us.  

In 1988 Lino and I just happened to land in the same city, working in the same restaurant - Ristorante Enoteca Pinchiorri! Google it, it’s something else, and certainly worthy of their three Michelin stars, and probably requires something of a second mortgage to dine there.

I guess it gives an inkling as to where Lino and I started, and our aspirations to do what we do here in Kibworth with a little extra style and a bit of a leaning towards excellence. 

When we started out, we sought to bring quality and something really special to what we did, whilst still remaining approachable.  In Firenze we were thought to be reaching for those Michelin stars, but really all we were doing was what we loved.

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The Boboli Gardens in Kibworth (not the real ones in Firenze) kicked off in 2007 and brought the opportunity to present a more casual affair while still holding on to the standards on which we have built our reputation.  Homemade pizza dough, made fresh every morning in the Boboli kitchens, and all dishes made from scratch with the best ingredients we can lay our hands on.

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By 2013, it was time for something completely different, so we set sail and launched The Lighthouse. 

Lino’s first job was in Bordighera on the Ligurian coastline and he has always had a passion for the preparation and cooking of seafood, so when it was time for a change a seafood restaurant seemed like a good choice.

Once again, we endeavour to set our standards high and yet accessible to all.  Fish and Chips on one table, Lobster Spaghetti on the next!!!  What could be better!

But, as we reflect on 20 years in The Kibworths, we remember it all started in Firenze in 1988, with a look across a hot kitchen, with a kiss, and as we celebrate 20 years in Kibworth, we still hold Firenze close in our hearts.

Ciao for now!

 Sarah x

 



20TH ANNIVERSARY QUIZ

Q5 Which Gardens in Florence did Lino and Sarah eat ice cream together.

Just answer in the comments below and we’ll enter you into our prize draw celebrating our 20th anniversary!  (Please be sure to put your email address on the comment form so that we can contact you if you’re one of our lucky winners)

Look out for other 20th anniversary quiz questions on our future blog posts.  Prize draw winners to be announced on 1st January 2020.