Ciao! My name is Tuyen and I am currently a junior studying abroad in Castellammare Di Stabia as part of IHTM! Today we went on our very first excursion to La Fabbrica Della Pasta (The Pasta Factory) in Gragnano. We had to wear coats and a hairnet as a safety policy since we were entering the production and packaging facility. Pamela, the factory worker, gave us a tour in Italian and meanwhile, Audrey (our excursion coordinator) translated it in English. During the factory tour, we learned the process of making pasta, drying and packaging it. The factory prides itself on producing pasta by imitating the old-fashion way, instead of industrial methods. They dry the pasta for 48 hours and is slowly dried at low temperatures until there’s only approximately 11% of water left so that it retains its flavor and form. After the drying process, the pasta is then packaged. There are 3 packaging machines: one for long pasta such as spaghetti and linguini, another for more common types of pasta, and lastly, for delicate pasta such as lasagna and shells. La Fabbrica Della Pasta is the first factory to produce gluten free pasta, using rice, corn and water. The factory has 121 different shapes of pasta with different names and produces approximately 20 tons of pasta per day! After the tour, we hand the opportunity to purchase the factory produced pasta! I purchased the “Lovers of Capri” named after its twisted form.
After visiting La Fabbrica Della Pasta, we went to Slow Foods which is a company that works with local producers and cultivate local production. They encourage using old school cooking methods and recipes to nurture their Italian heritage. As a result, they have workshops for children to instill those values and skills. Two specific crops that Slow Foods promotes are tomatoes and artichokes. Once we were briefed on the company’s purpose, we witnessed fresh mozzarella making! The maker has done it since he was sixteen years old and wakes up at 4 in the morning just to produce it! Part of the process is pouring boiled water into a big bowl and mixing it with a wooden spoon. Meanwhile, the producer has to put his bare hands into the bowl with scorching hot water to stretch the cheese. it is not a easy job! When he finished making it, he gave us all a piece to try! Nothing beats fresh mozzarella! Afterwards, Giraldo, a beekeeper who has 132 hives, talked to us about the honey making process. The bee punctures the nectar and mixes it with its own saliva and pollen, which results in honey! Furthermore, Giraldo says that eating pollen is beneficial to your health system because it contains 22 amino acids and 100 grams of pollen is equivalent to 500 grams of protein! If you are allergic to pollen like I am, he said to not worry, because allergy to pollen is caused by breathing it, but eating is okay!
The excursion was truly an eyeopening experience, because I learned that there is much more to making certain products than meets the eye! As Americans, we consider what is in the United States to be “normal” or “real” tasting pasta, honey, and mozzarella. In reality, what we witnessed at the factory and Slow Foods is the authentic and fresh version of the product! We learned the companies’ missions and how they differentiate themselves from other companies. As part of the hospitality major, we are taught to develop our purpose and how we can differentiate ourselves from others in the market. I hope you all enjoyed my post! I will be back next week!