There Is A Sombrero In My Plate | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

In my trips to Puglia, Italy with American groups, everyday is a discovery and not only museums, art or ancient discoveries of which Italy is full of it. We hunt for out of the ordinary activities to do, things that travel agencies don’t offer and we go, sometimes out of the spur of the moment, or sometimes without any planning.  We never get tired of learning new arts. Some people in the group don’t even have a clue how pasta is made, they just know how to eat it, maybe or maybe not. However making pasta is a truly an Italian art, behind which there are years of studies, research for  new technologies, trends, costumes and taste of the population.

With the bad reputation carbohydrates are getting in the US, often people tend to stay away from eating starchy pasta, but we know pasta will not hurt anyone, it’s all the wrong things people eat that make them fat. To dispel the myth that pasta makes us fat, let’s go in and let’s see what is happening behind the scenes. We meet with the owner Antonio Marella, a friendly person who is eager and proud to take us around in his modern pasta factory. What we discover is a marvel of production.

(Photos taken by ©Valentina Cirasola inside Marella Pasta Manufacturer)

The place is super clean, filled with natural light, visibly happy employees working with colors, colors and colors again. Mind you all the colors in this pasta come from vegetables and not from food coloring. Imagine such colorful pasta on your plate! How many sauces and how many dishes can be designed with all these colors! This pasta grows after has been cooked, thus you only need a few grams to get satisfied. The flavor is well-rounded and fills the entire palate not just a few taste buds.

Last year, a well-know fashion correspondent wrote about pasta Marella – – to show the world how food inspires even the fashion industry and how elegant or vibrant colors of food are. In all the pictures I noticed how those skin and bones runway models don’t look so emaciated wearing the colors of food. Perhaps they should have a plate of pasta twice a week. Once I learned about the Taste Of Runway, I wrote my own thoughts as well.

The shapes produced are infinite and among all of them, the colorful sombrero shape really intrigued me. One of my friends told me he ate it in Tokyo served in a very special way. The pasta was first cooked al dente. The bottom (disk) was filled with mousse of fresh tuna, covered with the sombrero, then the brim of the sombrero was covered with red caviar, lightly covered with a delicate sauce of basil and lemon. It sounds too good to put it in my collection of recipes without trying it, even though I brought back only one sombrero!

Now outside is raining and gray, but our box of gifts exults with colors. We leave Marella factory enriched with the knowledge of  the artistry involved in each phase of the production and the care each employee puts into it. Here people don’t go to work to fill up eight hours of their day, here they work to mesmerize the world. Every time a bite of this pasta goes into our mouth we will remember that . Ciao,



Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val LeopardI am writing a travel diary of my last trip to Puglia with an American group and sharing with all of you my notes of feelings, observations, food-wine tasting and experiences that have changed the life of people traveling with me. The trips I organize are made for people who want to live it up in Puglia! Check out my books on


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