When we took our first, tentative steps towards learning Italian, and before we had met our lovely, patient Italian teacher, Jill, we listened to “Earworms”. It’s a hard concept to explain but it uses repetition, memory hooks and music to teach some basic phrases. It is why we still sing our numbers:
uno, due, tre,
quattro, cinque, sei,
sette, otto, nove,
And it’s also why we think of all seven of the seven dwarves sitting on a settee to help us remember that seven is sette. You get the idea?
One of the Earworms chapters was about shopping, and it was here that we learned that the Italians do not say “a shoe shop” but rather “a shop of shoes.” We haven’t yet seen a shop of shoes in Spello, but what we have found are several artisan food shops, and I thought it might be interesting to feature some of them during the course of our stay.
CasAntonini is one such shop. Today it is fronted by the effervescent Luca Antonini, whose passion for his family’s products is evident as he explains with pride the origin and health benefits of the range of items on sale.
in 1854 Francesco Antonini – Luca’s great-grandfather, moved from Abruzzo to Scopoli near Folignio where he began cultivation of cereal and vegetable crops, using the seeds he had brought with him. Francesco’s children came to Spello and continued cultivation in the local area. In 1976 the family began using its stoneground flour to make pasta using family recipes which do not contain any fats, just the family’s own virgin olive oil. The traditional artisan method of lento lavorazione (slow process) uses much lower temperatures than industrial, mechanised processes and results in pasta that holds its shape and texture and tastes extremely good. Luca’s sister is head of production, and his brother also works in the business.
Other best-sellers include chickpeas, tiny shiny lentils, grains, jams and delicious savoury and sweet biscuits.
The whole philosophy of the business is to offer high quality products that are healthy and provide that authentic Italian taste. Luca emphasises the importance of the health aspects, and advertises it prominently in the shop.
We pop in to see Luca regularly as he helps us with our Italian and we help him with his English. We rarely leave empty-handed, so have sampled several of Luca’s products already: Contadini Classici pasta, Chicchi Bronzi Classici pasta – which is a little like orzo and can be used in risotto dishes – and plum jam, together with savoury and sweet nibbles. All have been utterly delicious.
Find out more, and see the lovely, calm video clip, at http://www.casantonini1976.it/index.php