Executive head chef, sommelier, maître d’ and proprietor Vincenzo Incendiary of Da Vincenzo’s Food & Wine hall Co. Limerick is a man of many talents as his lengthy title would suggest but is so much more.
Hailing from Pompeii, Naples in the South of Italy Vincenzo was born with a native love and appreciation for good food. Vincenzo’s family owned and ran a small hotel beside the beach in his hometown and with that came his talent for authentic Italian hospitality and love of hosting guests. Realising this unique talent, he worked as a trained maître d’ all over the world before starting his career with princess cruises. There he worked as a sommelier, where he was sent to wine regions all over the world to perfect his craft such as California and Australia as he told me himself “I learnt so much with them, I even met Robert Mondavi” (of Robert Mondavi Winery in California). “It was my dream to work aboard a cruise and to learn English”, Vincenzo stayed working with Princess Cruises for 15 years in total and met his wife on board.
From there the two decided to move to Ireland as he joked in his own words “nobody speak English like me so we decided to meet midway and move to Ireland”.
When they first arrived in Ireland they were shocked with the quality of Italian food being served and both decided that it would be their goal to bring “authentic Italian food” to Ireland, so they teamed up with the Savoy hotel group and work to bring their Da Vincenzo’s food & wine hall. The inspiration for Da Vincenzo’s stemmed from keeping extensive notes on his travels making note of the finest hospitality, food and wine, “I felt so welcomed from the Irish people that I wanted to give something back”.
“Our concept is to have the best of Ireland and the best of Italy together”. Vincenzo has incorporated the very best of Italy in his traditional cooking methods, while championing both Italian and Irish ingredients to create a delectable overall combination. “We import everything ourselves from Italy”, from the tomatoes to the furniture. No small detail of this restaurant has been overlooked, in giving his customer’s the most authentic Italian experience Limerick has on offer. They source as much of their fresh produce from Ireland as possible “this is very important to us here, Ireland has beautiful meat, vegetables and salads” all from local and artisan suppliers in the Co. Limerick area.
At Da Vincenzo’s “we do Napoli pizza”, “the pizza was invented in Naples, so we keep it exactly the same recipe that was done 300 years ago” all dough done by hand, made fresh everyday by his team of expert Italian and Irish chefs. They try to cater to everyone of their guests and offer an extensive vegan menu to their diners.
“We make some of the fresh pasta in house, some is hard pasta bought straight from Gragnano”, “there is two kinds of pasta handmade pasta like ravioli, pappardelle and some hard pasta like penne, tagliatelle is done in a very artisan way in Gragnano”.
Da Vincenzo’s has adopted a very interesting approach to their menu, that everything you can order from the menu is available to purchase through their deli and takeout option in the form of fresh and dry pastas, cooking oils, pasta sauces, deli meats and cheeses are naming but a few of the selection on offer. “The concept is that everything we cook you can buy to take home with you”, all of which can be bought individually or purchased in the form of a beautiful hamper (available all year round) which are all made to order and totally customisable.
“The Irish love good food, they understand the quality, now that they have started to travel a little more”.
They host an extensive wine list of over 200 wines (mostly Italian) to share with his guests the importance of wine in Italy “wine has always been something that I’ve loved, food and wine goes very well”
“You see in Italy, especially in the south of Italy when you go to the houses, we don’t have a lounge we welcome our guests in the kitchen, you see (he laughed) food and wine for us is very important.” Vincenzo highlights his combined love of hosting his guests and fine wine through his monthly food & wine shows, where his guests are treated to 7 courses from their menu and 3 wines, here he introduces us to the idea of the wine flight.
The wine flight, is the idea of being flown to Italy through your glass, you can fly in economy, business, premium or deluxe and we divide the wine list so that we can have a little bit of fun with the guest at a price to suit their budget. So, their guests can taste three wines, “so that they can get more confident with Italian wine, so when they come back they will know what they like”
All of their imported Italian ingredients are available to purchase both in the restaurant itself and are available every Saturday morning at the milk market in Limerick (a quick 5-minute walk from Da Vincenzo’s) Where they sell cold meats such as prosciutto, Parma, salami and bresaola, cheeses such as buffalo mozzarella and burrata, Italian pasta sauces, organic oils, fresh & gluten free pastas to name but a few.
The step ahead that Vincenzo claims to have is his language ‘nobody speaks English like me’ (he joked), “my team that I have brought over from Italy, we have been awarded from the Italian government an award of excellence within our first year of opening the restaurant”, only two restaurants in Ireland hold this award, Da Vincenzo’s and Dunne and Crescenzi in Dublin, “for us it’s all about quality products, not quantity, we follow the tradition of the dish”.
Limerick city is fast becoming an up and coming food hub in Ireland and is certainly one to watch for, as the Irish palettes are becoming more sophisticated their appetites are evolving too in demand for quality food. Da Vincenzo’s is a food Mecca for authentic Italian food, wine and hospitality in Limerick city and can be found as art of the George Hotel.
To find out more about Da Vincenzo’s food & wine hall please click here.
To find out more about the George Hotel please click here.