Taking Care of Business

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.

Luca Antonini and colleague outside the family shop, Spello.

Luca Antonini and colleague outside the family shop, Spello.

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.

CasAntonini artisan products

CasAntonini artisan products

Other best-sellers include chickpeas, tiny shiny lentils, grains, jams and delicious savoury and sweet biscuits.

CasAntonio products

CasAntonini artisan products

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.

What the products of CasAntonini do and don't contain.

What the products of CasAntonini do and don’t contain.

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


9 thoughts on “Taking Care of Business

  1. Anthony Allinson

    I read this in a traffic jam on the A303 this afternoon (I was in the passenger seat) and it made me smile. I had just dared have ice cream with olive oil and sea salt at The Railway in Honition, doubtless inspired by my recent education.

    1. maryshoobridge Post author

      We’ve not seen “gelato” with sea salt and olive oil here yet, but it sounds worth a try! I’ll keep,posting on the foodstuffs we do find. M

      Sent from my iPad

  2. Flora Marriott

    I’m a huge Earworms fan. It’s the only language audio thing (I can’t say audiotape now can I?!) that I have ever been able to listen to for more than 10 minutes.

    Mary, I am loving your blog. I do think that Spello’s tourism office needs to put you on their payroll though. You are doing a great job. And in my current, walking induced state of constant hunger and triple appreciative taste buds, my stomach rumbles every time you write about these wonderful foodstuffs.

    1. maryshoobridge Post author

      You recommended Earworms to us, and look what you started! Sorry about making your stomach rumble – the food is all so good here that I can’t stop writing about it. M x

      Sent from my iPad

  3. Kirstin

    I struggle with languages maybe I should try earworms I doubt I will forget sette. I also think if I was there knowing my stay wasn’t for ever I would be sourcing something bigger than a mini to bring back supplies!

    1. maryshoobridge Post author

      I would thoroughly recommend Earworms for holiday Italian ( and they do other languages too). It was a good start for us into something more….fluent…but haven’t got the yet! The Mini is just fab for driving long distances and with the seats down it is surprising what you can get in. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my clothes are “forgotten” in favour of more wine!

      Sent from my iPad


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