Product Story

original version:
«E tu fosti infelice e malaticcio, o sublime Cantor di Recanati,
che bestemmiando la Natura e i Fati,
frugavi dentro te con raccapriccio.
Oh mai non rise quel tuo labbro Arsiccio,
né gli occhi tuoi lucenti ed incavati,
perché… non adoravi i maltagliati, le frittatine all’uovo ed il pasticcio!
Ma se tu avessi amato i Maccheroni più de’ libri, che fanno l’umor negro,
non avresti patito aspri malanni… E vivendo tra i pingui bontemponi
giunto saresti, rubicondo e allegro, forse fino ai novanta od ai cent’anni…»

english version:
«And you were unhappy and sickly, or sublime Cantor Recanati,
swearing that Nature and Destiny,
rummaging inside you with horror.
Oh never laughed that stark,
your lips or your eyes bright and hollow,
because… maltagliati not adored, the omelettes and egg pie!
But if you had loved Macaroni more than books, which make the bad humor,
would not have suffered harsh living among evils… and the fat joyous
would come, ruddy, cheerful, perhaps up to ninety or a hundred years to…»

Taken from a poem by ‘Gennaro Quaranta’, the Maccheronata, one of the many artists who celebrated the talents and  tasting qualities of Gragnano pasta, written in response to the pessimism of the poet Giacomo Leopardi.

storia_pasta

The production of pasta in Gragnano dates back to the late sixteenth century when the first family-run pasta factories sprang up in the area. The story on the origin of Gragnano fame as the homeland of pasta to 12 July 1845, the day when the King of the Kingdom of Naples, Ferdinand II of Bourbon, during a lunch granted to Gragnano manufacturers the high privilege of providing the court of any long pasta. Since then Gragnano became the City of Macaroni.

In fact, the tradition of pasta in Gragnano has remote origins, we refer to the time of the Romans. Already at that time in the Gragnano territory was ground grain:  and the waters of the Vernotico torrent, running down the so-called Valley of the Mills, activated the blades to grind the wheat arriving by sea from the Roman colonies. The flour, thus obtained, were then processed into bread that was to nourish the neighboring cities of Pompei, Ercolano and Stabiae.

Over time, the need for the poorer classes to have a minimum of food stocks gave rise to a new production, dried pasta, made ​​with durum wheat flour milled in zona. This activity quickly became a tradition so important and deep-rooted that in 500 in Naples was formed a corporation of “vermicellari” and at the same time an edict of the King of Naples gave the license of ‘vermicellaro’, (vermicelli pasta maker) to a Gragnano pasta maker. Until the seventeenth century was not widespread food but, as a result of the famine that struck the Kingdom of Naples, became a staple food because of its nutritional qualities and for the invention that made ​​it possible to produce pasta, known as white gold, cheap pressing the dough through dies. The ideal ground to enable the production were in Gragnano and Naples, thanks to their microclimate compounds from wind, sun and humidity right.

Already the top 800 cities Gragnano had become famous for the quality of its macaroni and there were more than 70 pasta factories, but it is in the middle of the century that production reached its peak: at that time 75% of the active population worked in macaroni industry and pasta factories were more than 100 producing more than 1,000 pounds of pasta per day. Over the centuries, the city’s architectural and structural changes went hand in hand with the production of dry pasta. Via Roma, the symbol of Gragnano pasta was remodeled to support its exposure to the sun, making it a sort of natural drying pasta.

Even today it is not hard to find vintage images that show the way yellow-colored by the bamboo canes placed on trestles that supported vermicelli and ziti put out to dry. In 1885, moreover, the railway network reached Gragnano to allow a more rapid movement of people and especially of the goods: wheat, semolina and pasta. In the twentieth century, the comparison between the handmade production in Gragnano and the nascent industry in north of the country brought about a drastic reduction in Gragnano pasta factories. Those who continued their activities pointed at the quality.

The keys to success Gragnano pasta are to be found in the secular life of the milling industry, the professionalism in the production of dry pasta in this place and in favorable weather conditions. Gragnano is a naturally suited for the production of durum wheat pasta. The city is spread it on different elevation levels, from 350 to almost 600 meters, on a plateau overlooking the sea, in the south-east summit of the Gulf of Naples, at the foot of Mons Lattari. This area, squeezed between the mountains and the sea, it enjoys a mild climate, balanced and slightly humid throughout the year, which allows the pasta to dry gradually. In addition, from the springs of Mount Faito gushes pure water, low in chlorine, the Gragnano pasta factories always used for the production of pasta and which gives the final product unique characteristics. The art of making pasta in this land has been passed down from generation to generation and some techniques are still crucial to obtaining a quality product: among these, in particular, drawn through bronze, which gives the Gragnano dough typical roughness which allows it to hold the sauce to perfection.

Currently in Gragnano are active dozens of pasta factories, many of which were included in the Consortium Gragnano Città della Pasta, founded in 2003 with the aim to defend and revive the tradition of Gragnano. The President of the Consortium is Giuseppe Di Martino, a member of ‘Pastificio dei Campi’ and ‘Pasta Di Martino’.

Gragnano Pasta is now a PGI product thanks to the first EU recognition of quality assigned to the pasta in Italy and Europe as required by the Official Gazette no. 198 of 25 August 2010, which governs the protected geographical indication. The requirements of the brand PGI are the following: the pasta must be produced within the city of Gragnano only with durum wheat semolina and water from local aquifers. The extrusion of the dough should be through bronze dies. The drying must be accomplished at a temperature between 40 ° and 80 °C. After cooling (within 24 hours), the pasta should be packed, but without undergoing displacements, so that the product is preserved perfectly.

LINK_icona_minGo to the product specification of the PGI and plan for the control.