At the end of July I spent 2 “unusual” days in Calabria region – southern Italy: I have been on the mountain, in the National park “Pollino”: the biggest one in Europe!
I have been told true stories: true stories of man and woman who believed in their origins despite the temptation to leave and look for better opportunities as mr. Francesco and his wife, owners of “Osteria del Vicolo” restaurant (Mormanno town) did; stories of territories that -despite mistreatments and illegal exploitation- shine with excellent products as the fragrant and really tasty bread of Cerchiara town you can keep for days! True stories of successes such as the one at “Dolci Pascoli” cheese factory (Morano Calabro town) which sees american tourists back every year to make chees with them thanks to the didactic farm activities! Stories of abandoned products because underperforming but diligently recovered and now enhanced by Slow Food Association such as the lentil of Mormanno town. Stories of craft brewers such as “‘A Magara” owned by mr. Eraldo, which can be enjoyed in town (Cosenza city) at his shop-pub which offers a good selection from all over the world; a successful phenomenon (the one of the craft breweries in Italy) mainly run by young people that we seriously hope will be not suffocated under the increasing fiscal pressure. They told me stories of creativity, because in hot summers, the famous and unique “Moscato of Saracena” dessert wine (you will not find a product like that anywhere else, trust me) is better in the form of ice cream thanks to Di Vasto gelateria (from Castrovillari town) host by “Snack bar” (Mormanno town) known for its dessert called “bocconotto” with cherry
jam (jam puff pastry). Stories of apparent contradictions that show -instead- the richness of a territory as we had a “poor” tasty meals (farmer typical recipes) prepared by the restaurant “Fontana Vecchia” (from Cerchiara town) and “Da Lucrezia” one (from Trebisacce town) at the typically rustic “Masseria Pignatelli” (in Piana di Cerchiara); and, on the other side, we also had a more sophisticated dinner prepared by the chef Luigi Ferraro who today works in Moscow and host, for the occasion, at “Locanda del Parco” restaurant (in Morano Calabro town) so typical and elegant. Stories of young cooks united in association thanks to the intuition of other young communication professionals; an association (named with the English and nice name “Cooking Soon”) that -despite the foreign terminology – represents the excellence of this territory.
(find here the complete programme: Progr PDF)
A two days made of historic villages ‘tours, hills and mountains, home-made products (goat cheese, peppers scrambled along with eggs, onion soup, fantastic salami including the famous ‘nduja – spreadable and spicy salami-, local wines with great body), cultural and religious places, innovative initiatives such as the “Paese Albergo (Pollino)” one which reinvents the village as a net of activities aimed at offering a complete service to the tourists (hospitality, meals and tasting, guided tours and so on).
Two days that highlighted two issues in particular, two expected topics for those who live these places but which are not for people who live just a few kilometers away, and that, therefore, need to be stressed better than how reported after some
interviews released live:
- The Calabria region is not only sea: this can be a discovery already in northern Italy, not to mention the foreign contacts intrigued by posts about the event released live!
- The Calabria region maintains its traditional character: a powerful attractor, subject of a communication that many try to imitate especially abroad with inevitably weak results.
And my question is: how many confirmations we still need to seriously understand the potential of these lands, the uniqueness of these cultures, the uniqueness of these cultures ?! And with this message, irreparably rhetoric, I do not aspire to a movement led by a pure patriotic feeling (although sufficient for many), it is a real opportunity for long-term gain that makes me think of a real blindness of some Bodies and Institutions!
And then, as pointed out on other occasions, I welcome initiatives like this not only for our “fun”, journalists and sector’s operator in general (I confess!), but especially to ensure that these messages come to the proper Institutions!
An outdoor Expo2015 (universal exposition held in Milan) event, entitled “From Expo to the territories. Pollino National Park – crops and cultures for a sustainable future “, theme of the debate that opened the two days (find here the program of the workshop: Workshop PDF).