How do you go about providing an authentic Italian dining experience when you are forbidden from importing Italian ingredients? Russian entrepreneur Yuri Tetrov, head of Italian marketplace chain Eataly in Russia, had to find out.
The road to opening Eataly’s first Russian location yesterday has not been an easy one. Just months before he had planned to open Eataly in Moscow in 2014, Mr Tetrov was stunned when Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a food embargo on a plethora of European products. So long parmesan and San Daniele ham.
Since then, Eataly in Russia has set about expanding its in-house kitchen operations, producing cheeses such as mozzarella, Gorgonzola and Asiago and flying Italian cheese experts in to check on the progress. It also sources cheese from Switzerland and travels far and wide in Russia to get meat, honey, fruit and vegetables from Russian producers.
With Eataly’s Moscow branch second only to Rome in size, these challenges don’t seem to have dampened the company’s Russian ambitions.
The proof of the (locally produced) pudding will be in the eating.