Buffalo bill wins approval in Naples

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Obíká means ‘Here it is, look at it’ and judging by my experience at Naples International Airport last week, plenty of people are doing just that. In fact, they’re not just looking at it but dining in it.

Obíká is a Mozzarella Bar,  a celebration of one of the world’s great cheeses – Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. Since the late 1970s, this wonderful product (produced from buffalos’ milk) has been officially recognised and protected by its ‘DOP’ status (or ‘PDO’ as more commonly seen in English). This status guarantees the origin and legal standard of the cheese as being made entirely from buffalo milk. Beware cheap imitations, of which there were (and still are) many.

This pioneering food & beverage outlet offers tasting samples of various Mozzarellas as well as a host of antipasti, salads and paninis.

Obíká does a nice job in educating the consumer, via a neat information booklet and product sheet on each table, well-displayed product and signage showing the various production areas.

It’s brilliant to see such world famous fare championed and showcased in this fashion. We should have more, much more, of this type of approach in the airport world. It comes back to that oft-stated, much abused principle of ‘Sense of Place’ that should be integral to every single airport’s food & beverage and retail offer, but usually isn’t. The prices were fair (€12 for two (nearly giant dollops of Mozzarella and a delicious salad) – definitely a Buffalo bill that met with my approval.

On a similar note, I was impressed too by the scale and product width of Aldeasa’s (World Duty Free Group) ‘Thinking Napoli’ destination offer, part of the retailer’s recently revamped (and generally excellent) walk-through duty free store. The confectionery department (despite the errant spelling) was more vibrant than those of many bigger airports and the other core categories bright and nicely merchandised. It’s not a sophisticated offer but a vibrant one that  feels just right for this location.

For a relatively small airport, Naples has a huge and diverse retail and F&B offer (including a dedicated Mozzarella store, separate from Obíká, and a museum shop). It’s a nice sign-off to the delights of this glorious region. My only complaint is that much of the offer lies potentially undiscovered until it’s too late one floor below by the gates (I only found it late in the piece after my flight was called).

Better, multi-lingual signage might strengthen footfall and penetration in that area but that was one of my few quibbles about an airport that has clearly tried hard to provide a quality retail and F&B proposition.