Sugarcane, Shellfish & Spirits
Walking into the lab, at the Giovi distillery, I immediately felt like I’d been missing out on something my whole life. Something tremendously exciting, something extremely creative.
Shelves and benches are crammed with jars and bottles containing experimental brews. Exotic herbs and spices suspended in amber liquid. A mini alembic constructed for the very purpose of experimenting new brews, before sending them off to be distilled in the large copper alembics. I was reminded of my school biology lab (I subject I loved but did not excel at) only this was even better. This is where the magic of Giovi begins.
Giovanni La Fauci as a boy started distilling for fun in his childhood home and that which started as a boyhood hobby is now a flourishing family business.
Giovanni and his two boys, Peppe and Rocco (now grown men) transform passion and knowhow into delicious spirits that tell a story of Sicily.
Fruit infused acquaviti, grappe made from local grape varieties such as Zibibbo and Nero D’Avola. Vodka and of course Giovi’s latest baby – an award-winning London Dry Gin.
The family distillery does not only produce for the Giovi label, but the family also has an impressive portfolio of clients for whom they create personalised distilled products. Clients not only from Sicily, but also mainland Italy and Europe.
During my visit the bottles on the labelling belt are Giovi’s latest success a mollusc infused gin created for a local client but destined for Japan.
The product that grabbed my Aussie attention was a Sicilian made rum… sugarcane in Sicily? Seems so! Having spent my childhood summers in Bundaberg, where most of Australia’s sugarcane is grown, I was surprised and didn’t know that it was possible to grow sugarcane in Sicily. But it is very possible, so incredible!
However, the most intriguing fact that I discovered during my visit is that Giovanni La Fauci, renowned, master distiller constructs all his alembics himself. Giovanni told me how as a boy he started building complicated creations from discarded copper following books and manuals. ‘If you start with the most complicated contraptions, what you build afterwards becomes easier, but you also have the knowledge that aids in modifying something to suit your precise needs.’ The distillery has at least 4 different alembics for the different spirits they make, each has been personally handcrafted by Giovanni and are rigorously made with old copper. Giovanni swears by it and believes that is the secret of the Giovi success.