Egidio Donadio: “There are 37 secrets for artisan pasta production which are only known by pasta masters. We put effort and tradition into this business. That’s why we need five days to dry a package of pasta and this will not be convenient for any technology produced for industrial production. A lot of people start to understand what Gragnano means. Gragnano means quality. Once you start eating, you cannot stop. It’s totally different pasta.”
Gragnano, the Italian region which is famous for its pasta… This region of which architecture was designed to allow pasta to dry properly can be considered as a capital of pasta. La Fabbrica Della Pasta di Gragnano s.a.s is one of the most famous artisan pasta producers which make production with traditional methods in this region. Making production with 500 years of tradition which is passed over through generations, the company has 122 different pasta shapes and 1100 different recipes. The production is quite hard; so that the quality and taste is premium. The company’s Export Manager Egidio Donadio claims those who once taste this pasta will not be able to stop.
Here we are presenting the details about Gragnano and its famous pasta by Mr. Donadio.
Mr. Donadio, could you please briefly inform us about your company Gragnano and pasta production?
Gragnano is a special place in Italy; I mean geographically this is the place where the pasta came from. We have 500 years old tradition and the old secrets on how to make pasta are passed over from father to son through generations. Our company La Fabbrica Della Pasta di Gragnano which is also located on this area is an artisan, namely handmade pasta producer.
The color of pasta is bronze. We only use two ingredients. One is durum wheat which is coming from Uria in Italy. The other ingredient is water that is coming from a natural spring in Gragnano. These are two important raw materials that we use for production.
Another important matter for our production is the time and the air. Industrial companies prepare pasta in 2 hour and 55 minutes, less than three hours. We need five days in order to produce one single package of pasta; not five hours, five days. We do not have a lot of machine but a lot of people. We focus on quality first of all, and of course there are some secret that are very hard to find out and that are completely coming from our ancestors.
All of your pasta production is artisan?
Yes, all our products are artisan; not industrial. We are the biggest artisan pasta producer in Europe. As I mentioned before, we use only two ingredients and we produce 122 different shapes. 15 of those are registered and patented like the shape “caccavella” which is the biggest single portion of pasta in the world. There are several ingredients and so far we have collected 1100 recipes.
I guess your products are only sold in Italy, also in other countries. Could you give us some information about your export activities and export markets?
Yes, our pasta is sold in more than 70 countries. South America, USA, Canada, all over Europe, Japan, China, Australia and many other countries…
A lot of people start to understand what Gragnano means. Gragnano means quality. Once you start eating, you cannot stop. It’s totally different pasta.
We know that pasta production technology is improving year by year and there are very good technologies. If they use the same ingredients in these machineries is it possible to catch this quality?
Could you please explain the reason?
First of all there are 37 secrets for artisan pasta production which are only known by pasta masters. These secrets are not known by other people. We put effort and tradition into this business. That’s why we need five days to dry a package of pasta and this will not be convenient for any technology produced for industrial production.
What are your expectations and targets for the new markets?
We are trying to develop the current market where we are now. Also we are interested in new countries too. This pasta must be tasted. People should know the tradition and learn what they are eating. Of course it takes time but once they start understanding then the market will be growing. So we are focusing on some newly developing countries. We have got very good expectation like Brazil which is a growing as economy. So they start understanding our pasta a bit more. We are pride that we are right. For instance same thing applies in japan too; USA is also a huge market. What we are expecting is to develop the exportation to increase the exportation also in new countries.
What do you think about African market in terms of exports? The prices for artisan production is quite high compared to industrial production. Is it possible to be involved in Africa with these prices?
We do not export a lot to Africa yet. We are starting exporting North Africa. The market is growing up in Morocco, Egypt and Tunis in North Africa. Algeria is a bit slower but a long time ago we were exporting to Libya too. We export mostly where there are Italians because Italians automatically teach other people what is Gragnano. So we are still a bit slow in Africa due to the price, due to the quality because not everybody could afford to spend so much money.
Most people have a misunderstanding about pasta consumption. Most of them believe that pasta makes people get weight. Do you have any advice for pasta consumers?
It is not possible with this flour and this semolina. It is true; but that is due to white flour. White flour blows you and makes you feel heavier. This is industrial pasta; we only use semolina. Namely it is yellow flour which is a light product; so you do not feel heavy. Also if you eat it pasta al dente, that would be better. It should not be overcooked. If you can feel it on your teeth a bit then it will keep you lighter. If you overcook the pasta it would be heavier. It causes you to get weight. However it is not possible with our pasta, of course.
What’s your recommendation to pasta consumers? Maybe you can give us a recipe.
One of the simplest recipes is with tomato. Just fry the tomatoes little bit with extra virgin olive oil. You should boil the pasta for the recommended cooking time. No more, no less... Simply put tomatoes on top and that will be the best recipe ever.
We boil pasta in Turkey and use a little bit butter…
No. No butter. Turkey has a very good olive oil.
Would you like to add anything?
Just try to understand what Gragnano means. What is this place? The tradition, the history, what our ancestor used to produce pasta, how they produced it… Start understanding what authentic Italian pasta means…