American breakfast served in the room at the Four Seasons in Florence. Curated by Vito Mollica
7.30 am. The telephone of the room service rings.
«Good morning Mr xxx, this is Emanuele, how can I help you?».
«I'd like to have breakfast served in my room, please».
«Of course, which one do you want? Continental breakfast, American or à la carte? How do you prefer your eggs? Poached, omelette, scrambled? Would you like some fruits of the forest with your fruit? What hot drink would you like? Coffee, tea or cappuccino? Fruit juice? Shall we make a fresh pressed orange juice? Thank you for your order. We'll be there in 30 minutes'».
Twenty-five minutes later, the room's doorbell rings. And Emanuele is there in person. Armed with smile, mask, purple gloves, and the Four Seasons uniform of gilet, shirt and tie. «Good morning, may I come in?». He slowly pushes a one-metre-wide table-trolley, wrapped in a crisp tablecloth almost touching the ground. He places it in front of the window overlooking the scenic Giardino della Gherardesca. Mandarins, maple trees and artworks scattered in the paths of the largest private park in town.
On one side of the trolley, hidden behind the tablecloth, there's a hole. Inside, there's a chafing dish from which Emanuele pulls out a plate with 3 pancakes. He places it in the only spot of the table left empty, completing a mosaic of some 20 plates, saucers and baskets with all sorts of delicacies. He lifts five cloches revealing the last marvels. Emanuele points at 2 o'clock. «The chef took the liberty of adding some bruschetta with tomato, a specialty emblematic of our region. Enjoy your breakfast».
Emanuele ready to serve breakfast in the room
In the middle, Vito Mollica, executive chef at the Four Seasons in Florence
Cavatelli cacio e pepe with calamaretti spillo and marinated red prawns. This is one of the dishes in the tasting menu at Il Palagio, starred restaurant at the Four Seasons in Florence
Risotto with seafood and champagne
Bar of hazelnut pralines and vin santo gelato
But we'd like to focus on the room service. For two reasons: as never before clients have had such a strong desire to enjoy the intimacy “of their own quarters”. And most of all, room service – in the morning, afternoon or at night – has never been popular among Italians who often considered it as a second choice, with a different experience from the one “in presence” (often offered as a buffet, which is out of question during these covid times) and the low demand doesn't intrigue the offer.
Not at the Four Seasons. «In ordinary times», Mollica explains, «the room service involves 16 people over 24 hours. These resources are justified by the fact 40% of the guests choose this option, a very high percentage. They're mostly Arabic or English speaking and want to stay in the room with their partner, finish working, or watch a film...». The items in the breakfast menu must satisfy the palates of 5 continents. This is why it includes the Continental Tuscan, American Breakfast and a long list of items à la carte, from Porridge with raisins and toasted almonds to White frittata with peperonata and toast with avocado. And there's the all-day menu too, which includes a blockbuster such as the Club sandwich, usually the most popular snack, or a 250-gram Chianina burger.
The staff doesn't only pay attention to the width and quality of breakfast and lunch. Before that, it's crucial to set a memorable minibar. Not only in terms of the content of the minibar, but also of all the frivolities that you can find on the table and bedside tables as soon as you arrive in the room or suite.
«If the fruit is not beautiful, or the minibar is neglected», Mollica explains the last golden rule, «as a hotel you're already making a bad start. This is your business card. The first impression that will affect the entire experience».
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso
Careful analysis, news and curious facts about the most important hotels and inns in Italy and abroad.
born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since 2007, he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches History of gastronomy and Culinary global trends into universities and institutes.
A small (or almost) selection of all the delicacies that make the typical Turkish breakfast
Buongiorno Da Vittorio once everything is served on the table