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Pasta has always been a universal symbol of Italy, also recognized abroad: in Europe, in fact, almost 3 pasta dishes out of 4 come from the pasta factories of the Stivale.
The way of understanding consumption has changed completely: from a typical dish to be ordered at the restaurant, pasta has become a real eating habit.
Moreover, pasta should be eaten exclusively “all’italiana”: al dente, with Mediterranean condiments and accompanied by a good glass of wine.
Pasta therefore responds increasingly to an ideal of pleasure, taste, quality, safety and health. This trend, which more and more associates pasta with well-being, is making Italian pasta makers and pasta makers adapt to the demand by focusing on quality, thus remaining the spearhead in an increasingly aggressive and competitive market.
This is how the Italian pasta factories, craft or not, increasingly aim for excellence among formats, combinations, different grains and special drawing.
BUT WHICH ARE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INDUSTRIAL AND CRAFT PASTA?
The factors that determine the diversity are many and go from the size of the factory, to the automation of the supply chain that determines the quantity of the final product.
Not to mention the choice of the raw material: if for an industrial pasta factory this choice is fundamental, for a pasta factory it is what makes the difference!
It is not easy to adjust the shot in case of a poor quality of the semolina during the processing: the corrective margins are minimal.
The freedom of the artisanal pasta factory compared to the industrial one is much more evident in the creation of formats, different from the standard ones of the supply chain and, often, with good reason.
The particular format, in fact, is designed to enhance traditional recipes. Even the colour and cooking of artisanal pasta are not uniform.
Last factor that makes a noticeable difference, is the price: the cost of 1 Kg of industrial pasta is, on average, € 1.50, while the craft can also get to € 6 per kg.
Below is a ranking of the best Italian pasta divided between industrial and craft brands:
NOT CRAFT BRANDS OF PASTA
• De Cecco: a story that dates back to 1886, when the De Cecco brothers gave life to their pasta factory in the small town of Fara San Martino in Abruzzo.
In 1908 the brand adopted, as a brand identity, a country girl with a pile of wheat, still today a symbol of De Cecco pasta.
The offer to the consumer provides a wide range of products, from durum wheat pasta to egg pasta, from wholemeal pasta to special pasta, up to organic pasta. At the end of the production, for generations, there is the “tasting ritual”: the tasters have to evaluate the pasta according to the colour, fragrance, elasticity and cooking resistance that every pen or spaghetti must respect to be called De Cecco!
Since 2013, De Cecco is the third largest pasta producer in the world.
• La Molisana: a pasta makers’ factory 100% Italian, reborn in 2011 after the acquisition of the Gruppo Ferro of Campobasso.
Since September 2018 it has been on the market with a new recipe, the result of a sustainable farming process, made only of 100% Italian wheat, purchased at a guaranteed minimum price, and of crystalline spring water, from the mineral properties coming from the Parco del Matese.
La Molisana collects the indications of the market: on the one hand the food must be nutritious and healthy, on the other it must be an instrument of sociability and sharing. In this direction the line of wholemeal pasta has been oriented, among which it is possible to taste the famous square spaghetti, born from the Abruzzo tradition – Molise in the “white” version and has become a success on a national scale.
•Voiello: a love story born with the arrival of the train! On the occasion of the construction of the Naples – Portici railway in 1839, Eng. August Vanvitelli, came from Switzerland to Torre Annunziata, where he met the daughter of a small pasta maker, Rosetta Inzerillo: it was immediately love.
After marriage, August retired to his father-in-law’s shop to learn the local art of pasta making.
It was the Bourbon Naples: King Ferdinando I encouraged the activity and Italianised the surname from Vanvitelli in Vojello.
In 1879 the nephew of August, founded the ancient Pastificio Giovanni Voiello, in honor of his father. The Pastificio knew various vicissitudes during the war, overcome in the 50s and 60s. In 1973, however, the Italian economic crisis determined the need to sell the shares to Barilla, which has always respected the autonomy and independence of the processes productive.
Today Voiello pasta is made only of 100% Italian golden wheat, a variety born thanks to a research path that has led to those parameters of excellence that characterize the “Top Quality” line.
•Rummo: a little Pasta factory of Benevento born in 1846.
His pasta makers are the author of the method of “LentaLavorazione” (slow processing), emblem of careful research of the best ingredients treated with care and without haste. The result of all this, are high quality products that are distinguished by taste and property.
In addition to the classic formats, organic whole meal products, the professional line, egg pasta, baked or gluten-free pasta, the pasta factory produces the famous long and legendary Candles.
Today, after 170 years, the old pasta workshop in Via deiMulini has become a piece of Benevento history and the testimony of an ancient tradition that has managed to resist adversity, including the flood of 2015, on the occasion of which the Rummo, with the slogan “the water has never softened!”, has rolled up its sleeves, boasting, today, an activity of great respect.
•Garofalo: the Pasta factory was founded in 1920 by Lucio Garofalo , it immediately became one of the biggest and productive of Gragnano.
Its success story is the result of the ancient art of making macaroni, translated into methodological know-how thanks to constant controls and certosini on raw materials and the final product, as well as cutting-edge technology.
Quality, taste and transparent packaging are its signs of recognition. Transparency denotes the awareness of giving the market a noteworthy product, symbol of an ancient art.
Today, Garofalo produces 4 lines of pasta: durum wheat flour and whole wheat, gluten-free and organic pasta for children.
• Divella: in 1890 Francesco Divella built his first mill to grind grain in Rutigliano, a small agricultural town near Bari.
The hard work of many generations over the years has paid off: today Divella produces high quality durum wheat.
Now in its fourth generation, the pasta factory continues to underline the importance of tradition in the production of a high quality product. Its factories produce 1000 tons of dried pasta a day in over 150 formats with various lines: classic line, bronze drawn, special sizes and specialties, egg pasta, wholemeal pasta, ghiotte fantasies (flavored pasta) and gluten-free.
THE BEST ITALIAN CRAFT PASTA
• Felicetti: born in 1908, it is the most artisan pasta factory in northern Italy, in Val di Fienze.
The company is a pioneer for the production of single-grain organic pasta including varieties: Il Cappelli, Matt, Khorosan – Kamut and Farro.
• Molino and Pastificio Benedetto Cavalieri: inaugurated on 7 July 1918 and produces 32 formats of durum wheat semolina, including the famous “Spaghettoni” and “Crazy Wheels”, and 8 formats of organic whole wheat pasta, characterized by a large supply of natural fiber and excellent cooking resistance.
Their method of processing durum wheat semolina blends is called “Delicato” given the long and prolonged kneading, followed by a slow pressing and drawing, with a final drying at low temperature.
• Dei Campi: Giuseppe and Giovanni Di Martino are the third generation of pasta producers, as well as pasta makers respecting the tradition of Gragnano which has been going on for more than 500 years.
Their philosophy is imbued with the indispensable canons for the production of the best Italian pasta in a modern way: quality, craftsmanship and respect for traditions, with attention to the values of transparency, respect for the environment, technological innovation and the spread of food education to pasta.
The durum wheat used by the pasta factory Dei Campi is exclusively Italian.
• Verrigni: PastificioAbruzzese born in 1898, is famous because it is the only one in the whole world to carry out the gold drawing of some pasta shapes that, thanks to this technique, presents a unique value: a new porosity, greater crunchiness, more captivating scent. Today Verrigni pasta, thanks to the intuition of its owners Gaetano Verrigni and Francesca Petrei, has become a “cult” in the panorama of the best Italian chefs. The pasta factory produces about 80 pasta shapes, made in different varieties because they are also used flours such as Kamut, spelled and whole wheat semolina.
• Martelli: in this pasta factory, born in the heart of Tuscany, only family members have been working since 1926.
Here, between slow gestures and vintage machinery, a 100% artisan semolina pasta is born.Martelli’s doors are always open! Every year many people go to visit the pasta factory to discover the secrets of a slow processing at low temperatures that is able to enhance the taste of wheat, the absorption of the sauce and increase the digestibility of pasta.
The final touch of the pasta factory?
Each package is packaged by hand!
After this overview that allowed us to know in detail the pasta brands that symbolize Italian excellence, we cannot help but be guided by our senses, and start a real “taste path”!
Read also: The History of Pizza, one of the symbols of Italian excellence