Brooklyn Bride High rollers - Dazzle guests with cigar catering at bachelor party, wedding reception
By Lee Cabot Walker
In the last couple of years, some Brooklyn brides have decided that five nights in a Vegas penthouse suite with an a la carte menu of sugary cocktails, swanky strippers and racks of lamb wouldnt quite reflect the uniqueness of their engagement; that a wedding reception at the foot of a Spanish castle with a 300-name guest list, 1,000 imported orchids, air-conditioned dinner tents and elephant rides for the little ones wouldnt exactly express the poshness of the occasion.
Bensonhurst native Dennis Briganti was there to help. For $975, Briganti's cigar company, CF Dominicana, will cater your bachelor party, bachelorette party or wedding reception, sending a professional master roller to about 50 cigars for two hours as your impressed guests observe.
Its a powerful image, Briganti says. Cigars are equated with status, money, success. When you have a cigar roller at an event, the visual is so unique that it makes a very strong impression: The bride and groom really went over-the-top. Its an upscale flair. Briganti will even send cigar servers to work the reception. He has catered events for many clients from Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill.
CF Dominicana offers about 25 different cigars, varying in size and shape; all filled with ligero tobacco leaves medium-mild leaves from the Dominican Republic.
While Cuban tobacco still has the popular reputation of being the best, Briganti says, Dominican tobacco has been recognized around the cigar industry as superior in quality for about the last 10 years. The cigar called the SoHo is his brands most popular. Classified by its size as a robusto, the SoHo measures about five and half-inches long and has a large gauge or circumference of about three-quarters of an inch. Its gauge, or thickness, makes for appealingly cooler, milder smoke, and its wrapped in Connecticut Shade leaves, a mild, light-medium wrapper that lends perfectly to the cigar blend.
The CF in CF Dominicana stands for Cigar Flavors. When Briganti started the business in 2000, the focus was on offering interesting cigar flavors amaretto, chocolate and cognac, for example. As an afterthought, Briganti began offering cigar bands custom designed with clients initials or with messages like John & Tina, Sept. 14, 2004.
Although the flavored cigars are still available, it was the custom bands end of the business that took off quickly, and Briganti teamed up with master roller Juan Espinal to offer the custom catering that now carries the custom brands name. They now have in-house event planners and master rollers working for them across the country.
When youre from Brooklyn, you tend to have a bit of a street edge, Briganti says. Im aggressive. I know people. When I started advertising the catering on the Internet, suddenly Chicago was calling, Detroit was calling. I went to Juan: Juan do you have any family in Chicago? We knew a guy in LA. We networked.
Briganti says that in February, during the NBA All-Star in Houston, CF Dominicana catered Zo & Magics 8-Ball Challenge, a charity fundraiser hosted by Alonzo Mourning, Magic Johnson and Queen Latifah. CF Dominicana has also appeared in scenes in The Sopranos and Sex and the City.
It used to be that you had to fly a cigar roller in from Miami for your event. You paid for the guys lodging and food and you paid him to be at the party. It was unbelievably expensive. It wasnt a streamlined operation like a Brooklynite would make it!