July 2013


Funeral_posters_MSStep back in time with a visit to a small town in Molise. On our journey to Mirabello Sannitico we encountered this notice board, a small town tradition that dates back decades, if not centuries.

Pre-dating electronic communications, this is a lovely way to tell the community of a death so that all may know of the details and arrangements. Italian funerals are traditionally open to the community, and all in the village or town are welcome to attend.

We are highlighting two of the posters as examples.

Luciano D’Imperio’s funeral Mass was to be held at 1700 hours (5:00 pm) on Martedi (Tuesday) the 26th at the Chapel of San Rocco.

In the lower position on the right, the notice is one of sympathy rather than a notice of the funeral service. The co-workers of Emilia posted this notice to express sympathy to Emilia on the occasion of the the death of her Padre.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this bit of Italian culture as another look at life in the small towns of Italy. While we were touring this small town near Campobasso, at 4:45 in the afternoon, we noticed a quiet gathering emerging from a nearby building. We were told there was a chapel in that building and that all had just come from a funeral. The town had been very quiet and a gentle hum returned after the funeral service.

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We are often asked how often we travel to Italy on buying trips (usually twice a year) but there’s one event in the U.S. that brings amazing choices to our shores.

The Fancy Food Show just concluded in New York. As always, we found a phenomenal range of food (olive oil from China?), ice pops made with kale, and more cheese than you can imagine. We stayed true to our mission to find the best selections from Italy!

We met with favorite producers such as Salvatore Cutrera from Frantoi Cutrera, and planned the fall purchases, starting with the zesty Frescolio. We also learned the the flavorful Cutrera Gran Cru Cerasuola has the highest polyphenol level of any of the Cutrera monocultivars. It is over 600!

The most unusual selections were those from Pantelleria, a tiny island far south of Sicily, and very close to Africa, known for the production of capers. Look for these in a few months!

In 2012 our big discovery was pistachio cream from Sicily, an item that has sold out quickly. Sometimes we don’t know just how good our good ideas are. We didn’t find any pistachio cream this year, so we are glad that connection has already been made for our discerning customers. We should be well stocked again by September.

We had a fortuitous moment when we met with a very experienced importer who is bringing in a very exclusive line of hard to buy olive oils. (Those wine producers can be tough negotiators). Look for new selections from Tuscan wine producers after the next harvest.

The Rogers Collection, known to us as an olive oil importer, is also a big mover in the cheese world. We scheduled our visit to their booth to attend this special and ceremonial opening of a new wheel of Parmiggiano-Reggiano DOP. This is a 36-month aged cheese, and even more special in that it is from brown cows. There are only four producers who craft DOP Parmiggiano-Reggiano from brown cows’ milk. Fabulous.

Other photos show our friends from Italian Products, Compagnia del Montale of Modena, pasta and rice selections, and the grand show floor, in the Italy Pavillion.