I'm back with another update from Campania!
Last week I was hosted by the Capo family in the small town of Paestum, home to a large archaeological site with the ruins of massive temples built by ancient Greek settlers.
The Capo family has a wonderful garden in front of their house that the grandmother, Michela, has tended to for many years. She showed us around, explaining that they're able to grow all the fruits and vegetables they need during the
long growing season, and how they preserve things like peppers and eggplants in oil for the winter.
Some of the dishes they prepared with food from their garden during my stay:
- Pasta with sausage and eggplant
- Deep fried zucchini flowers
- Homemade pesto
- Stuffed eggplant
- Roasted peppers and zucchini
Through contacts in their extended family, we were able to visit Vannulo, one of the most famous mozzarella di bufala producers. The facilities were surprisingly high tech, including a little car wash machine for the buffalo to wash themselves in. We picked
up a custom-ordered mozzarella that weighed 2kg and also stopped to try ice cream made from buffalo milk, which had an extremely rich flavor (buffalo milk has more than twice the fat content of cow's milk).
A few days later I traveled to the town of Gragnano, where a friend had arranged for me to tour the factory of Pasta Garofalo. I got to see everything from the lab where they test all the physical and nutritional characteristics of their pasta, to the massive
3-story machines that mix the dough and push it through the various shapes (they have molds for almost 200 different types of pasta in their factory), to the conveyors where the pasta is dried over several hours, and finally the packaging machines. The whole
facility was warm and permeated with the smell of semolina dough. One surprising fact that I learned was that much of the durum grain they use to make their pasta is actually grown in Arizona, so they're very concerned about the effects of this year's drought.
This coming week I'll be traveling to the Marche, where I plan to attend a festival for one of my favorite foods - olive ascolane!