Mauro Brun e Bruno Rebuffi

Macelleria Annunciata

via dell'Annunciata, 10
Milano
T. +39.02.6572299

The man with the glasses is Mauro Brun, while the one on the right is his partner, Bruno Rebuffi, in the butcher’s Annunciata in via dell’Annunciata. They are a pair of magnificent young cervelee (butchers) in a Milan where the king of meat is Ercole Villa, at number 11 viale Brianza. They are his pupils and heirs.

Everything began in via della Spiga. Nowadays, people almost laugh when you tell them that, until about twelve years ago, it was a street that didn’t exist exclusively thanks to fashion boutiques, but also to stationery and grocery shops. But that’s the way it was. Mauro, class of 1963, and Bruno, of ’69, met in the butcher’s shop owned by the Quattro brothers, four in name and four in number. Four children of a father born in 1904. Two became butchers and married two sisters. They hired Mauro in ’81 and Bruno, known as Brunetto, in ’84, contributing, totally unwittingly, to the formation of a very professional duo. Then the Quattro brothers shut up shop at Christmas ’95 and they had to invent themselves a future.

Mauro reminded me: «Meat has always literally enchanted me. As a little boy, at home, we had rabbits and when it was time to eat them, before they ended up in the pot, I’d spend ages looking at every single fibre of them. If you bear in mind that I had very little desire to go to school, it was a clear and forgone conclusion which road I was going to take». The dream of a shop of their very own came true in March 1996. In via dell’Annunciata, a rich and well hidden street, there was a greengrocer’s that had closed four years previously, an insignificant little shop which they transformed into the jewel it is today with lots of passion and no money whatsoever: «Poverty breeds ingenuity. We recycled everything, items from fifty years earlier, thanks to the Quattro brothers. One, to fill in his time, took on the role of smith and joiner, adapting the counter, display units and fridges. We were full of enthusiasm and then Mad Cow Disease came along. No one wanted to eat meat anymore. We thought we’d gotten it all wrong and were ready to open a mechanical workshop». But they held on and are now a roaring success.

Mauro says: «The secret isn’t just the quality of the meat, but also the ability to grasp changes in consumer taste. Nowadays people want things they can cook quickly, almost ready-to-eat, so that it’s just a case of dropping them in a pan and cooking, without wasting time at home cleaning, cutting and flavouring. Unfortunately not much goes into educating kids in terms of food, taste and the pleasure of pursuing artisan professions like ours. There’s a severe of lack of new butchers. Brunetto and I are young, well under 50, but we’re the exceptions to the rule. Most people think that a butcher is someone who hauls in pre-packed meat and displays it on supermarket shelves». A bitter truth.

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by

Paolo Marchi

born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose. twitter @oloapmarchi