Just like beer tastes better in a proper glass than a can, and cappuccino tastes better in a ceramic cup than a paper cup, it’s no surprise that Japanese noodles taste better served in a proper, handcrafted noodle bowl.
As soon as we received these new donburi (bowls for noodles or rice) from Koito Pottery in Japan, we knew we’d have to give them a try. That night we whipped up some ramen noodles (NOT made from scratch – that is not something that can be whipped up), and it was honestly the best quick-made ramen we had at home. The next day I made some tofu-tamago-toji-don (stir-fried tofu and spinach encapsulated in a fluffly egg-omelette-type thing, served over rice), and again, the bowls somehow turned it into a fancier, tastier version of this rather basic meal.
So yes, these noodle/rice bowls are magic. The blue-black coloring – a unique characteristic of the pottery made by Dai at Koito Pottery – enhances the visual appeal of the food it contains. The not-so-smooth texture gives you a tactile experience of the wabi-sabi concept. Each bowl is one-of-a-kind, a product of a 100% manual process that requires steady, expert hands and decades of experience.
Last night we had some left-over tempura (thanks, mom!) so naturally, we had tempura udon. I was ready to dig in when I remembered at the last second to snap a photo – so let it be known that taking this photo delayed me attacking my bowl of udon! But boy, was it delicious. I don’t know when I can enjoy a hot bowl of udon in Japan, but at least with these bowls, I can have a little taste of Japan at home, anytime I wish.
With the new Spring/Summer 2018 collection, Il Bisonte introduced a lot of new Italian leather handbags. These will of course appeal to the ladies, but thankfully, there are plenty of new mens/unisex bags as well. Take the new CAMAIORE series, for example. By combining nylon and cotton, they’ve come up with a technical fabric that is more durable and resilient, and pleasing to the touch. One such product is a travel bag that can be folded up when not in use.
Because seriously: how many times have you gone on vacation, only to come back with overweight suitcases or having had to buy an extra luggage to carry all the souvenirs home? Well, if you throw one of these into your suitcase, problem solved. It’s light-weight, doesn’t take up a ton of space, and you still don’t have to give up your sense of style with this handsome technical fabric travel bag (with Italian leather trim, I might add)!
If you’re already familiar with Il Bisonte, the bag is consistent with their high quality in both craftsmanship and materials. If you are new to the brand, I encourage you to read all about Wanny di Filippo and how Il Bisonte became world-renowned for the quality and timeless beauty of their products.
I have seen many coin purses in my life. Many of them made by very experienced and skilled artisans. Then I saw the FERRO and understood what could be accomplished when you set out to make the best possible coin purse.
After years of wondering whether our customers would pay more to get the best coin purse in the world, we finally decided to show you what we think is the best coin purse in the world and let you decide if it is for you. You should first read about who Peroni is.
I think that the first goal was: “it has to work perfectly, every time.” I put all my change in the FERRO to test it, I closed it, and right there I was sold: this coin purse is designed to stay closed with ease! Next, “is it easy to open?” Yes, easy enough with the pull tab and the amount of force required is the same every time. Next, “do the coins come out of the purse and gather in the cover?” Definitely yes. Even though I had a lot of coins they all gathered in the cover and did not fall out. The coin purse hard edges give me the feeling that it will always operate like this and I can rely on it.
As I was testing the FERRO I could not help but notice how smooth and pleasant the leather was. I am a fan of vacchetta leather, which is very genuine and somewhat raw, but to accomplish this kind of precision in a product you need leather that is smooth and precise. You too will be able to smell and feel the unmistakable artistry of Florentine leather craftsmanship. Quality leather and Italian craftsmanship can be found in other products. What makes the FERRO coin purse stand out is its design. Using a single piece of leather and 37 production steps, the FERRO does not use any stitching.
So pick one up. I doubt that you will see anything else quite like it.
Before I started working at Marcopoloni I had visited their website numerous times, browsing through the different bags, impressed by the wide variety of styles. I was always intrigued by the Campomaggi bags, rugged with the perfect “already worn-in” look. I never took the plunge and purchased a bag though as I had become jaded to the whole online shopping idea, with previous purchases from other online retailers not quite living up to the perfectly photo-shopped pictures on their websites. It was so disappointing to receive the shipping box I had been excitedly anticipating only to discover the item I ordered looked nothing like I was expecting or the quality was poor. So I just kept browsing….
Flash forward to five months ago, when I came to work for Marcopoloni and was personally introduced to the Campomaggi bags that I had admired from afar. It was love at first sight, and smell.
As my desk is located in the Campomaggi warehouse, the first thing I noticed about these bags was their unique scent. It’s hard to describe, but they have a rich, slightly fruity, buttery smell that is different from any other leather products I have been around. It’s not overwhelming, but just strong enough to remind you that your bag is a Campomaggi. They should really think about making air fresheners, I’d love my car to smell like a Campomaggi bag.
The construction and quality of the bags makes Campomaggi really stand out to me. The leather is soft, yet just by looking at it, you can tell that it is top notch. You can feel from the weight of the bag that is it solidly made, and the rivets and buckles are heavy duty and made to last. But the thing that I most love about Campomaggi is how the distressing and dyeing can affect the look of each and every bag. As the leather is distressed after the bag is put together, each bag becomes truly unique, there is nothing cookie cutter about Campomaggi. Two “Espresso” colored bags can be two totally different shades of brown, and one bag can have beautiful variations of color across its body. One thing that impresses me about Marcopoloni is their insistence in making sure that their customers can see every single Campomaggi bag that is available for purchase. By taking the time to photograph and post each bag, Marcopoloni gives the customer shopping on the website the unique experience of being able to pick out the exact bag they would like.
I know from personal experience that there is just the right bag out there. As I walked in the warehouse everyday, the DOLCI bucket bag kept calling out to me as a bag I’d love to own. I was deciding between the Cognac or Espresso color, but I wasn’t quite sold yet. Until the day we received DOLCI Cognac #6. There was something about that particular bag that made me say “yep, that’s the one”, some slight variation in the color or cut of the woven leather that made it stand out.
Now that I’ve spent so much time around the Campomaggi brand, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one online, as I know the quality would be exactly what I would expect. Although I would only buy it from Marcopoloni.com 🙂
Last summer, while playing my weekly co-ed recreational soccer game, I got an email. It was from a company called Il Bisonte, reaching out because they thought that our philosophy of preserving the way of the artisan would be a good match for their products. While we receive a lot of business solicitations along the lines of “trendy leather bags, very cheap price!”, it’s rare to get a thoughtful email from someone offering products that are in tune with what we are about. I showed the photos of their products to my teammates and received immediate positive feedback, so I hurried home to share the excitement with Daniele, slowly allowing myself to become cautiously optimistic about this brand.
Fast forward 9 months and here we are, proudly carrying a selection of these Florentine leather goods ranging from business card holders to tote bags. With the long-anticipated arrival of the Spring/Summer collection at the end of the month, our catalog will more than double – expanding into categories such as backpacks, weekenders, coin purses and key cases. In the meantime, we have quickly developed an admiration for Il Bisonte’s philosophy of creating high-quality, minimalist leather goods, where the amazing quality of the vegetable-tanned Tuscan vacchetta leather takes center stage. Yes, for me, it’s the leather – it’s always been about the leather. I was pretty much sold the moment I laid eyes on this before and after comparison showing just how gracefully Il Bisonte products age:
I immediately invested in the large Il Bisonte logo tote (shown above) and am looking forward to watching the leather deepen in color and acquire that wonderful patina over the years. If you Google “Il Bisonte”, it’s not hard to find fans worldwide boasting about their “20-yr old handbag” or “30-yr old key case” – and I absolutely love that.
Pitti is a wonderful show for us at Marcopoloni because handmade and unique high-quality products abound. The boat-loads of style, like it or not, are infectious and even I try to look my best, and even a little stylish.
One person who, instead, has style in his DNA is Marco Campomaggi. The Campomaggi booth stands out at Pitti as his style is rich and is already in touch with the wishes of the audience (it is not so far out that it gives you pause and then some). It is amazing to me to see how many and how quickly people jump on board the Campomaggi wagon. For those of us already familiar with Campomaggi, a new collection is always rich of surprises and interesting new twists. I personally was very happy with the new collection as it improved existing themes and introduced new ones that made me decide to try them. This doesn’t always happen when a new collection is introduced.
As we walked into the booth, we were welcomed by a new version of the Dolci that featured etched patterns some of which were gold plated. The etching is done by a machine but the gold plating is done by hand as is the placement of the studs, which have become ornate and, quite simply, pretty (see picture above).
As we explored the booth we saw a men’s briefcase in finely crackled that was much more attractive than a similar leather style from the past, padded nylon bags that looked great and light for travelling, new bag sizes that fit specific needs from a larger Dolci to a toiletries bag and eyeglasses cases. A line with studs on a woven leather pattern with strips about two inches wide (this looked gorgeous but heavy, heavier than the usual Campomaggi heavy), bags with black military badges on black leather that finally looked attractive (we skipped the first run of military badges), a new lineup of backpacks all with features that make sense, and more. One interesting development is the interchangeable straps for some of the bags. I tried changing a few straps on a bag and they really changed the look: great idea.
Without more photos I realize that this is just a teaser. But you don’t really want too many details since the collection won’t appear until August. However, please do get in contact with us as we are already accepting pre-orders.
This was the first time for us to go to Pitti. But we had seen plenty of reports showing men at the edge of fashion posing for pictures outside the medieval fortress (Fortezza da Basso) that hosts the event. It is really quite interesting to watch, because among the colorful coats, shoes, sunglasses, hats, and beards lie some true gems of style worth following. The rest is a reminder that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that “de gustibus…” (old Latin saying meaning “of tastes…” you cannot comment).
Then, far more subdued, are scores of impeccably dressed men who appear to be tending to important business and can careless if they are photographed. They certainly made me feel like I could use a little extra style.
These were my thoughts when we got to the Peroni booth. We saw a much more sober display that was proud to show new prototypes to be introduced later this year. As we entered the booth we began to realize that the Peroni catalog can be had to fit almost any style: the color selection seems to cover the entire spectrum… And then wow! It was then that I fell in love with something new: hardened hide eyeglasses in blue and yellow.
I haven’t given them a name yet, but they will for sure become part of the Marcopoloni catalog. I tried them on and after a few adjustments they started fitting on my head and they stopped sliding down my nose. I absolutely loved them and I bought a pair (against all rules) because I had to have them right away. Now that I have a frame I will finally go to the optometrist
Now I am the only one at the show with THESE cool glasses. I wear them with the default glass that doesn’t help me read at all, and love it. I posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook and sat there admiring it while a few likes trickled in (I have a very small audience). I know. This does not sound like me, it is vain and narcissistic. But let me feel young with the confidence of the middle-aged man: it is a wonderful feeling.
I probably LOVE everything that Antartidee makes so I had to be extremely clear in the title to explain that these two clocks are my all-time favorites, at least to this date.
Clocks Tell Time
Oh really? You might say. Well, yes, I had to point that out. I have had a need for wall clocks ever since I got kids… eight years ago. If you have kids I am sure that they naturally keep track of time and never make you late… but I wasn’t so lucky. Changing a diaper is a fifteen minute ordeal for me when Marco decides he is going to kick and scream the whole time (sidebar: they say he is no trouble at all changing diapers at daycare). Chiara, on the other hand often chooses that there is enough time for her to do what is going through her mind before focusing on the task at hand.
Not having a clock that you can just look up to consult is a weak predicament when dealing with kids. But kids are not the only thing that can make you lose track of time and I really, really enjoy my clocks. I have the MESSPRESSO both at home and at the office. The one at the office is in the showroom and I only consult it once or twice a day, but the one at home is in a strategic spot–near the bottom of the stairs–and I can check it while at the dinner table. I enjoy my time at the dinner table, but sometimes I spend too long there–I am Italian…
A Methodical Checklist
While at the dinner table I usually have to enjoy my week-end cappuccino with Emi and the kids, but the next step is to walk the dogs. If I hesitate too long then we start cutting into the next step in the routine and so on. That is why I installed the MESSPRESSO at home too. It is a match for my espresso making personality and it really, really helps me put the kids in bed at the right time. I basically check my MESSPRESSO strategically throughout the day and it has made a difference.
What Else Could They Pack In It?
As you can see, I am overly partial in favor of the MESSPRESSO, but it should be understandable. I love coffee and I love brewing espresso. I am Italian and love Italy and there is an Italian flag painted on the cup. I love the smell of coffee beans and there are four marking the hours on the plate. I am messy at times, and, well, this clock is a mess. Oh my! They designed it for me!! If there are any Italians in your life, I guarantee you this wall clock is going to be a hit–at the stroke of any hour.
If you waste even a little bit of time, a little time-conservation will help. The PERDITEMPO allows you to close the dripping of time that results in so much waste. By freezing the time wasting in time you should see considerable benefits, except when you catch yourself staring at the beauty of this clock–all the time.
I have put it in our bathroom and all the cool guests who used the bathroom noticed the coolness of the clock. Some people didn’t comment because they probably were checking Facebook at the time. If they hadn’t they would have noticed it. It’s impossible not to love it. And with California in a drought we need a clock that can end it once and for all!
Do you like Antartidee clocks as much as I do? If the answer is “yes”, can you prove it in the comments?
The arrival of a new Campomaggi collection is one of the most exciting times at Marcopoloni and our customers also get really excited, which makes for a joyous busy time that helps us forget about tax season and think about spring–the actual season.
The seasons of fashion are similar to the seasons in California. The spring/summer season here in Campbell, CA begins with the end of the last rain, which could be just about now. This is the time when I like to plan my first dinner in the yard with friends and start thinking about going to the beach. Well, so I am finally in the mood to announce the new spring/summer 2016 collection by Campomaggi and, in a separate post, I will announce the Caterina Lucchi one.
There is a problem with this thinking though! I, just now, realize that our South-of-the-Equator customers get completely left behind by doing this… Ouch! We love you too, of course, and I will keep you in mind going forward. Luckily, Campomaggi bags are often unisex and “uniseason” and this collection has at least a couple of new bags that do not shy away from fall and winter.
The Streets of Milan
Marco turned 55 this year (as you know by doing the math on your Campomaggi bag) and opened his flagship store in Via della Spiga, 5 in Milan’s fashion district. I have said it before and gladly repeat it: this is a big deal. A man who decided to make bags the way he liked them has been able to rise to the stage along with the most famous brands in the world who make bags the way fashion trends dictacte. It will be interesting to see if the world of fashion will start moving away from the cookie-cutter styles we have been taught to consider fashionable and towards something more in tune with the fact that people are not made with a cookie-cutter.
As I have always said, and just implied, Campomaggi bags exude uniqueness from every pore. This collection is no different. From reversible bags, to innovative evening styles, Marco is tickling our imagination again. As I walk around Valley Fair mall, the area mall with all the luxury brands, I get bored. I try to pick out the elements of fashion that the different brands contribute and I often either come up empty or have a few points that aren’t very bold. Instead, with Campomaggi, you get used to something bold. In fact, he is so bold that now that he is talking to a more general audience he has retracted wonderful inspirations such as aged leather. I, of course, loved things like aged leather and am waiting for the day when Marco starts a new “free of preconceived notions” brand that is brave.
Despite having become a bit more mainstream, the elements of true artisanship are still very strong and evident in Marco’s new products. Besides the uniqueness that is instilled in all the products, he is still perfecting previous ideas, trying new ideas, and figuring out how to make things more usable.
I have always boasted how Campomaggi bags are a reflection of Marco’s soul. This spring they seem to reflect accomplishment and a desire to live life and to live it better, through a better bag: that’s Marco’s contribution to the world and, in my opinion, a very liberating one because he is able to mix what seems like unlimited creativity with a love for artisanship. In the Marcopoloni world, he is very admired.
Growing up in Italy, when something was reversible my family used the French word “double-face” which in this case stood for double-sided. That is what I thought when I saw Campomaggi’s new reversible canvas bags. It’s a neat idea that makes you feel like you got two bags for the price of one and that when you spill your ice cream you can, at least temporarily, resort to the other side.
There is an interesting touch: the leather label that says “Campomaggi” can be popped out and moved to a location inside the bag, which means that, when you reverse it, it will be visible outside again.
A Little Asymmetry
I don’t think that Marco is embracing surrealism in his designs by any means. But he always tries to think past the tried and true to see if there are other, new ways to be stylish and/or functional. The Malfante Hobo, for example is not a revolutionary design. It has a couple of unique features but nothing Earth-shattering, except that the zipper is placed in a spot that makes it fairly easy to operate.
If you are a Campomaggi veteran like me you know that to get summer colors in your bags you have to move away from the distressed, unbleached vacchetta leather that makes Campomaggi bags so delicious. Canvas is a perfect material for summer, travel, the beach, picnicking, and outdoor activities.
We now have colors that we never had before.
Most of the items in the new collection are, indeed, very summery. That didn’t use to be the case for Campomaggi. Before he started creating leather that would handle brighter colors we were pretty much limited to beautiful shades of dark brown and black.
A Summer Wallet
The Marino canvas wallet has immediately achieved status among Campomaggi wallets. It is the first canvas wallet and it probably is long overdue. Granted, the shape is the same as many Campomaggi wallets (tried and true) and the stamped logo is something that we have seen for over four years now. But, let me ask you something: would you rather take the Marino or a leather wallet to the beach?
If, like me, you answered the Marino, it means that you are ready to get out there and keep your favorite style close to you at all times, and not worry about a little water, too much sun, or a heap of sand. In a way, the Marino is the ultimate summer entry.
Finally, The Ultimate Bucket Bag
Bucket bags had been missing from the Campomaggi repertoire for many years. Then, came the ARIETI bucket bag by Campomaggi. Nowadays, you see many women carry a small bag on their hips, but until today you didn’t see a small Campomaggi bucket bag grace those figures. For those of us who had been waiting for a gorgeous, smaller bucket bag by Campomaggi with precious details… here it is.
The Real Finally
The new Campomaggi Spring Summer collection has arrived and it is one that satisfies. I had mentioned before a couple of uniseason bags for our friends down under. Here they are:
If you are a fan of Campomaggi products, don’t forget to sign up for Emi’s great Campomaggi Report series. Also sign up to our general newsletter where you can find out about what else have we discovered that features awesome artisanship, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few :-).
Happy spring and if you have any questions, please ask away in the comments below!
Lately, one bag has been catching my attention as I walk into the office every day: the PIOGGIA by Caterina Lucchi. The thought that comes to mind is: “I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.”
An Original Style?
Granted, I’m not a user of ladies handbags. But I do live and breathe Campomaggi and Caterina Lucchi handbags on a daily basis and Emi loves to wear them every day. Perhaps other designers have explored this exact style before and I am late to the party: even if that were the case, I would not be surprised if Caterina Lucchi’s version is quite original. Besides all these possibilities, I was impressed with the design and I continue to be. The braids are one-of-a-kind and very appealing to sight and touch.
The Artisanship is very remarkable, in my opinion, because it is not so easy to produce those braids, especially using buffalo (instead of cow) leather. When I pick it up and inspect it, the bag looks really well made.
The braids are the result of an intricate pattern of stitches that does not exactly look simple to accomplish, a testament to the skill of the artisans and to the creativity of the designer who came up with a doable way to accomplish it.
Caterina Lucchi uses buffalo leather from time to time. Italy has a growing population of buffaloes that arrived during the sixth century from central Europe and is concentrated around Naples (these are the buffaloes who produce the milk for mozzarella and scamorza affumicata). Italian buffalo leather is thicker, more solid, and more durable than our beloved vacchetta leather. For this reason it is a bit more complicated to work, but it yields a long lasting product. Caterina’s buffalo leather is still soft to the touch but does feel thicker and, consequently, stiffer than her calfskin products.
A Mature, Independent Personality
Caterina Lucchi is a wonderful woman. Her personality is very strong and loving. Like Emi and I, she can be around her husband a lot and get along. She can also go her own way with her brand, which is very innovative, unique, and vibrant. I know Emi loves her products, and apparently so does my little Chiara who is seven. She spent a week at the office last week when school was closed and she said she liked the PIOGGIA… Perhaps it is a sign that we are going to bump heads when she’s a teenager, but for now she still laughs at all of my jokes.