Jacqui & Phil's visit to Carlo Crivellin
Having warned our son Thomas, about the breakneck driving we would be likely to encounter in the south of Italy compared to the 'civilised' north, it was a rude shock to have an early hair-raising experience whilst still in Northern Italy. We were on our way to see one of our newer suppliers, 'Carlo Crivellin', driving the narrow road alongside the Adige River in the Veneto. We managed to arrive in one piece despite the best efforts of large trucks and speeding, loose-laned cars playing the game of 'sideswipe'.
The little company of 'Carlo Crivellin' was started by Carlo and his wife Fiorella in 1969, focusing initially on pasta and polenta, until the pasta took precedence and the polenta machinery was sold to a good friend.
Today the company is still very much a family-run operation, in a tidy little factory complete with a rather beautiful Madonna in the garden. Carlo and Fiorella are at the helm on a daily basis, working with their children Laura and Arianna, and son-in-law Alessandro. Carlo and Alessandro create the recipes, with Alessandro refining the machinery and plant to customise production - and he and Arianna live onsite. Talk about living your work!
They tell us the secret to the great flavour of their gluten-free egg pasta is the high percentage of local eggs: 25% instead of the usual 20% - made to an old recipe of Carlo's.
We lunched at a large, local, simple restaurant where for the princely sum of €13 a fixed daily menu offered pasta or risotto, followed by the choice of steak, prosciutto, chicken, duck, octopus, rabbit or horse - which is commonly offered in the Veneto. Also a salad, which can be hard to come by as we travel, mainly eating in restaurants. We chose the duck, which tasted free range and was a wood-fired black. Alessandro told us he normally avoided the rabbit as a nearby local town used to be known as 'gattomangia' (cat-eaters) and he always wondered if the custom lingered.
After a night in a nearby agriturismo, we left early for the long drive further south to see our organic supplier: Girolomoni.