Our customers and friends, Karen and Robert just returned from their trip to Tuscany with great memories and even greater pictures. Highlight of the trip was a visit to the Martelli pasta factory, in Lari, a village perked on a a hill, near Pisa, since 1926. Left is Karen with Laura Martelli, the new generation of Pastai. Karen and Robert are very lucky: the day they went to visit the Martellis was the day they were making spaghetti. When I went, a couple of years ago, I arrived in Lari after a three hour drive on a very hot summer day – did not make me popular with my husband and my friends – to learn that it was the Martellis production day off. Therefore, I was even happier to hear that Robert is a professional photographer. He sent us some of the pictures he took at the Martelli factory. Look at them! (click here). They are so vivid, it’s like you were there, too.
Why is artisanal pasta so much more expensive and so much tastier than industrial pasta? Many reasons, but mainly it is the drying phase: industrial pasta is dried in big electric ovens for 30 minutes; artisanal pasta is air dried for up to 50 hours, depending on the shape.
When Karen and Robert returned to their home in Brooklyn, they didn’t unpack right away. They had an urge to create dinner with their beloved pasta and they invented the Spaghetti Martelli and Clams alla Discalfani. Picture on the left and Recipe from the very creator, here.
What a memorable trip it was! Laura was such a pleasure to meet and she introduced us to all the different Martelli family members making the pasta.
Their factory is at the top of a hill, right in the little village of Lari. We thought we were in the wrong place when we parked the car, but then we saw all the yellow jumpsuits carting around bags of pasta to the local stores and restaurants. A wonderful sight to see!
Lorenzo welcomed us and took us on a tour of the factory. (I’m happy it was spaghetti day.) He explained the use of the bronze dyes and how when the dough was pushed through them, it created a rough texture on the pasta – something that industrial pastas don’t really have. (Of course, this texture is much better for the sauce too!). He also showed us how they dried the pasta and, like Beatrice mentioned, there were no short-cuts taken here! It’s all air dried.
I had eaten Martelli pasta many times before visiting their little factory, but I certainly have a newfound appreciation for their delicious pasta. Everything is done with care – right down to the filling and sealing of the packages…all by hand!
I hope to go back another time – next, it’s penne!
ciao Karen. we just watched the Smile Pinki video, in the office. http://www.smiletrain.org/site/PageServer
we are very touched. very well done and great, inspiring content. bravissima!
Thank you for sharing this wonderful documentary. I met little Pinki in person, and she really is quite a little girl! She’s now in school and doing well in her studies. So is the little boy Gutaru.
Can’t wait to see them in a couple of years.
and they will get married, too.
we have visited martelli’s factory few days ago.. if you wanna to take a look at the story http://whitedarkmilkchocolate.blogspot.com/2010/11/visita-al-pastificio-martelli.html
thank you Marzia. lovely pictures! do post it on our facebook page, too. http://www.facebook.com/gustiamo
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