Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fabio Simoncini

Somehow I knew, that Fabio was the first person I wanted to portray under the new label, “People”.

Fabio is of course Italian – Pisa is his hometown and the region of Tuscany has from day one been the fulcrum for Fabio’s selection of wines and the small tasty antipasti he creates every day. But slowly other regions have found their way into the wine shelf and today you can find almost all of the Italian wine regions here.

But life was not all about food & wine for Fabio. “I am educated as a chemist, but I couldn’t see myself doing that for the rest of my life”, Fabio says.

He came to Denmark in 1989 on a snowy April day. Five years later – to be exact the 15th of February 1994, he opened the doors to Cibi e Vini, which just happens to be about 100 meters from where I work (and still work today). I have lost count on how many times I have chosen Cibi e Vini for setting up the food for my wine tastings during the years and please don’t tell me how many kilos of Parmesan cheese I have bought there, my pants already feels too small just thinking about it. My good friend Carl and I, even had a sandwich named after us, as we picked it up every morning for several years.

Throughout the years Fabio have had help on and off from young chefs, but today it’s his wife Mie who make up the dream team. Make no mistake, it might be Fabio, which I portray here, but Mie is an outstanding chef and makes on of the best Osso Buco I have ever tasted.

I can’t remember exactly what date I actually met Fabio for the first time, but as I was already into Italian wines back then - Cibi e Vini was just the place for me. Besides the food, Fabio had a curious approach to wine and for spotting new comers and not being afraid to take chances. Cibi e Vini was the first, according to my knowledge, to sell organic Italian wines in Denmark.

When I think of it today, it’s not only Fabio’s carefully handpicked Italian wine producers and his high standards of hams, cheese, olive oils, pasta, pesto’s, Italian chocolate and homemade antipasti – it’s also the atmosphere in the shop. Typical a Friday for me, when I am tired from work, and just want to come home and relax with a good bottle of wine I stroll pass Cibi e Vini. The shop is usually pretty filled at that time, as I am not the only one with such a Friday-plan. Now Danes hate to stand in line and I sometimes find myself just observing how the behaviour of the costumers can slowly transform, when they understand that they just have to be patient. Everyone are desperate to get home and kick-off the weekend and just waiting for their turn. But somehow, standing in the shop is calming – Mie and Fabio provide the same personal service to all their costumers no matter if there is 100 persons or 1 person in the shop. Often a costumer will have doubts on exact, which cheese or ham to buy and will of course, like the rest of the waiting herd, be offered a small sample to taste. Slowly people’s faces will light up as they ooze the joy of not rushing all the time, as they taste the goodies. You see, the Italian has for a long times realized that “slow” is beautiful.

But I have to say, that it would be wrong of me to say that Fabio is typical Italian; “if we don’t make it today, we make it tomorrow”. Fabio is always busy. The Danes has for a long time noticed Fabio’s shop and as the words spreads, Fabio provides private and business clients with out of the house catering, almost every week

Anyway – it has been a pleasure opening the door to Fabio’s universe and I hope you can sense some of Fabio’s character. Do visit his shop if you happen to be in the neighbourhood and say hello from “Toga” (my nickname).

Cibi e Vini
Torvegade 28
1400 Copenhagen K
+45 32 57 77 98


Anonymous said...

Hej Thomas

Det er et ganske fremragende foto - blænde 1,1? ;-)


Thomas said...

Hej Ulrich,

Tusinde tak.

Det var faktisk ret hyggeligt at fotografere Fabio. Dog ligger hans butik på skyggesiden og på en januar dag er der sgu’ ikke meget lys. Og lys – ja masser af lys er oftest det der gør et super portræt. Jeg øver mig bare stille og roligt.

Det er taget med et 85mm f/1.2 objektiv – men jeg går meget sjældent ned til blænde 1.2. Du mister noget kontrol ved at gå så langt ned. Mener billedet er blænde f.2.8

Skriver en lille historie om Fabio og uploader er par billeder mere ved lejlighed.

Bedste hilsner,

E said...

Excellent start to this new category, and not the first time I hear great things about this place! I must plan a visit sometime soon..
Regarding the previous comment, do you find the f 1,2 a big step up in quality from the f 1,8 (obviously in price!)?

Anonymous said...

YES, a lovely place and great guy! And what a funny danish he speaks with his heavy italian accent.

And don´t forget he was the first "Messorio" dealer in Danemark.


Anonymous said...

P.S. And his Anti-Pasti is such delicious!

Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas said...

Hi Erik,

When I take pictures with the Canon 85mm f/1.2 – I feel like sitting in a Formula one car. The engineering is impressive, but I am not sure I can actually drive the damn thing.

The lens is without a doubt absolutely brilliant. I don’t know the 1.8 that well. I have a small 50mm f/1.4, which I also use a lot. In comparison – for the price, the 1.2 is “not worth it”. But from a pure quality perspective and my life philosophy”Never fail on your equipment” – it’s something you can’t live without, when you first have it ;-).

With the 85mm, you can make the most insane out of focus blurs. When you are in PS and use the zoom tool – you will see how sharp images it delivers.

But when you are an amateur like me, you will also notice how unmerciful the lens is, when you don’t use it properly. Using this lens on automatic settings is no good at all. AV and manual is required and I use selective focus points when I am using the big aperture (low f/ number). Maybe I am not using it correctly….I am still learning.

The price is frightful high – I sold 200 bottles of CNDP – and bingo I had a camera and a lens.


Thank you, Martin….yes but of course, Fabio discovered Le Macchiole…on a bicycle trip many years ago.


Dear Thomas,
Its still Osso Buco...

Thomas said...

Thanks, Ebbe...I have corrected it.


E said...

It certainly seems like an insane lens, in all respects of the word! My eyes are on the 50mm f1,2 and 135mm f2 when I happen upon a couple of hundred bottles that I don't need (or finish my dissertation and start making some real money..) Keep posting your "amateur" portraits, they´re a joy to watch.

Thomas said...

He he Erik...and thank you.

I have heard very good things about the 135mm f/2.0.

It’s always nice to have something to look forward to. I am putting money aside each month for the new 14mm f/2.8. So maybe in 2 years time I will have it ;-).

Have you been photographing for a long time?

E said...

Well yes, on and off, but only recently with a DSLR which of course changes ones perspectives and possibilities a lot. With a baby on the way I decided it was time to be able to document it properly. Have a good weekend!

Thomas said...

Seems like a good, plan Erik…and good luck…kids are the best in the world.

I have 2 girls @ ‘5 and ‘2.

And a nice weekend to you also.


Anonymous said...

Well, it seems this blog is in English, so.....

for the geeks:
The lowest possible aperture doesn't render the sharpest photos but is a definite plus when light is low and/or you're loking for a very shallow depth of field. 2 x lowest aperture is usually where a lens performs best optically if you disregard preferences of depth of field.
I think that low light can give some of the most interesting photos and that a grainy photo can be used to one's advantage. As long as you have contrasts to work with you're fine.
I've only been to the shop a couple of times - and I was a happy customer - so I won't comment on the portrait itself.


Thomas said...

Hi Ulrich,

Makes good sense.

Most of the portraits I shoot with the 85mm, where I still want a out of focus background, are in the area of f/2.8 <> f/1.8.

Go lower, yes things start to be very blurred and skin can start to look funny and seldom have you got both eyes sharp. However, it can be done with success.