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Baccello Wine and Cicchetti bar in Christchurch is a welcome surprise in the South West of Dorset. The local hidden gem, located amid the High Street in Christchurch, is home to a specialist fine wine dining experience - from two particular regions of Italy - Venice and Piedmont. And its esteemed owner – Yuanyi Li – was first trained at Bournemouth and Poole College.

Specialising only in Italian wines, ‘Baccello’ (meaning ‘pod’ – which is a family in-joke about the Parkstone Old Dairy building that proprietor, Yuanli Li, also owns) whilst ‘Cicchetti’ means ‘little bites to eat’, originating from Venetian gondoliers, who snacked whilst at work. The name provides a unique piece of Italy in Dorset.

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Yuanyi Li was first trained at Bournemouth and Poole College.

The bar has several parts to its operation. The first is tasting events on a month-to-month schedule, and the second is Italian wine tours hosted with Baccello’s partner vineyards and wineries. The Baccello Instagram account shows the monthly events calendar in advance: follow (@baccellowineandcicchetti) with a schedule of events, foods and wines that are offered. Yuanyi, who first studied at the college in 2001 for the L3 Diploma in Hospitality in only ten months, went on to do Hospitality Management at Bournemouth University and later HR Management with the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD).

Each month, Yuanyi will profile two Italian wines at Baccello – one white, one red, for taste-testing from his time working for two years in Italy (after he was headhunted for a role as Operational Director of a Sushi restaurant chain in Italy) where he developed his acute knowledge of Italian wines. Yuanyi says: “To own my own business is part of my ‘lifelong dream’ and we do not have a ‘bestseller’, as such. We operate it through a system, put it through an ice bath and select the wines for the month. We do offer wines of the month by glass, or you can buy a bottle, offered at the retail price. For the more serious wine connoisseur or for people learning more about wine, we offer the opportunity to visit the region and sample the wines onsite there. We have tried to keep it to a level that is designed to suit everyone.”

Yuanyi has hidden talents in coffee-making too, making him the perfect dinner host, for he spent over ten years working for Whitbread’s Costa Coffee chain with an international role where he was responsible for 160 stores nationwide and later specifically in the South West of England – across Southampton, Poole, Winchester, Salisbury, Andover, Lymington and the Isle of Wight where he was the visible leader.

Yuanyi said: “Bournemouth and Poole College opened the doors for me. Coming from Bejing at 16 and entering the hospitality industry at the college through a course of study first shown to me by a family friend, I was thrust into a world where I was young and in an unknown country beginning studying. The college very much ignited my passion and made me realise I didn’t want to do anything else. I love people, food and drink and I’m now in my perfect job.”

He added: “The college helped me to engage with the industry and provided me with great further opportunities to reach my complete potential. I had to study the English language alongside it, and can now speak English fluently. My time in Italy was thoroughly stimulating and taught me some essentials in the Italian language too.”

Yuanyi is currently thinking about going full-circle and taking on an apprentice himself, the apprenticeship would teach the new employee a specialist transferable skill in hospitality and Italian wines. To find out more about our apprenticeships you can view: https://www.thecollege.co.uk/apprenticeships/i-want-become-apprentice/best-place-your-apprenticeship or see the list of vacancies for apprenticeships we currently have here: https://www.thecollege.co.uk/apprenticeships/i-want-become-apprentice/vacancies

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Baccello Wine and Cicchetti bar in Christchurch.

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Baccello Wine and Cicchetti bar in Christchurch.