LLK Takes Dealers to Italy.

On Friday 6th July, myself, my mum and three of our wonderful customers and their very lucky plus ones (John and Ruth from Bluestone, Hayley from CS Catering and her partner Matt and Danny Potter from KCCJ and his partner Laura) were whisked off on the trip of a lifetime, travelling over the Dolomites to the wonderful town of Treviso in Italy, famed for the creation of the Tiramisu! Through the whole trip, we were entertained and spoiled by LLK’s fabulous manufacturers, Cuppone, as well as the wonderful Linda Lewis and our Technical Director, Carl Lewis.

From the moment we arrived, we were treated like royalty by the Cuppone family, who had well and truly rolled out the red carpet for our arrival. From the second we entered the Cuppone factory our fabulous hosts ensured that our glasses were never without prosecco; and the wonderful Gian Domenico treated us to a seemingly never-ending supply of delicious pizza, which had been cooked to perfection in a variety of ovens from the Cuppone range.

After our bellies were stuffed, Cuppone’s Managing Director, Federico introduced Linda to the workers at the factory and then presented Linda with a stunning award for being their ‘Best Customer of 2017!’, and thanked Linda for helping them grow substantially in the last 12 months.

Federico then escorted our group around the Cuppone factory, where the team demonstrated how each machine is hand-built to order; as it has been done for 55 years! We were also shown new innovations which Cuppone will hopefully be releasing in the coming months and then finally taken around the LLK production line which has been specifically created to cope with the demand from the English market. All Cuppone equipment is hand-built to order and the same engineers will see the oven through to it being sent off to a separate testing line where they are all thoroughly safety checked before being despatched.

Our trip was non-stop, once we had finished our factory tour we were escorted to our mini-bus and introduced to our lovely tour guide, Tiziana, who escorted us up the picturesque hills of the Prosecco Valley where we stopped at the award-winning Toffoli Vineyard, a family-run establishment in the heart of the DOCG region. In this region the conditions of the environment are perfect for the cultivation of vines, making the Toffoli family wines and fizz exclusive to their vineyard.

After being warmly greeted by the eldest member of the Toffoli family (and his adorable new puppy!), we were taken into a refreshing 19-degree refrigerated room which featured eight ginormous vats full of prosecco! We were then shown the two-stage fermentation process and then taught about how the process of bottling, labelling and packaging for different markets occurs.

Later, after our crash course in the world of prosecco, we were invited into the tasting room and it was time to sample some of the award-winning wines that the family creates! We were treated to an array of samples from the D.O.C Treviso: a light, none fizzy prosecco to the family’s award-winning Brut prosecco; as well as being able to try some delicious samples of artisan cheese from the local area. It was indeed a once in a lifetime experience, the beautiful scenery was only enhanced by the incredible hosting of the Toffoli family.

Afterwards, everyone reembarked on to the coach and drove to an idyllic flour mill which was restored by the local community and has been used as the backdrop for many Italian films! Before the mosquitos or ‘zanzara’, as they are called in Italian, ate us alive we were escorted back to the bus where we were taken to another beautiful location situated in the centre of the DOCG Prosecco Region. Our gracious hosts had specially selected a delicious 5-course set meal for us which featured carpaccio, cheese and ham gnocchi or an authentic tomato and basil pasta, a beautifully cooked fillet steak served with rosemary potatoes and for dessert a delicious vanilla cheesecake with raspberry coulis.

The second day was as action-packed as the first, after a hearty breakfast at the hotel we set off to Venice where we walked through the tranquil streets and were treated to some traditional Italian gelato and of course. You cannot go to Venice without seeing the city via the traditional gondola, so we split off into groups of five and set off on our beautiful gondola ride through the smaller canals of Venice and eventually up the famous Grand Canal.

Once we had finished our ride we stopped at a small, informal ristorante for prosecco and beer before wandering again through the streets to the famous San Marco Square. After admiring the stunning architecture and design of the St Mark’s Basilica we made another pit stop at a restaurant on the Piazza San Marco, for some nibbles… and some more prosecco of course!

After being refreshed and recharged we set off in search of somewhere to watch the football and managed to spot a small trattoria showing the game, signposted by the group of English fans proudly sporting the flag! We sat and watched the England v Sweden game. After England beat the Swedish we headed to the Grand Canal where our private water taxi was waiting to escort us back down the famous canal to the awaiting minibus that took us to the hotel.

After having a few hours rest at the hotel, Team Cuppone met us once again and took us to Linda’s favourite fish restaurant in Treviso. The quaint restaurant served us a surprise 5-course set menu filled with seafood delicacies, some exquisite wines and we finished the meal off with a traditional evening drink of grappa! As our evening concluded a thunderstorm commenced.

All in all, the trip was a roaring success and I think I can speak on behalf of everyone who came in saying that we are extremely grateful to Cuppone, Linda and Carl for their incredible hospitality during our visit, each one of us was spoiled rotten. It was a great opportunity for our associates to see just how much time and effort goes into every aspect of building our high-quality machinery. The whole experience was a fabulous one that I will never forget, and I am very grateful to all my colleagues who chose me last year as their employee of the year and will be returning to Italy soon to explore the beautiful country more.