In Rome today if you say ‘fresh pasta’ you spontaneously think Gamberoni, especially if you have savoured their incredible range: tagliatelle, tortellini, ravioli ripieni, cannelloni… Not many know that the first Gamberoni pasta was kneaded by Nan Angela over fifty years ago, when with her son Guido she had brought to the capital the great Emilian tradition of fresh pasta. The tale of Bottega Gamberoni was born back in 1964, and lives on by virtue of Tony Gamberoni, Angela’s grandson, who concocts the most famous fresh pasta fillings in Italy, and is directing as well the great success of his Bottega abroad.
Look, there has always been great synergy between all of us. Each and everyone of us has occupied the role specific to our skills and made the most of it. This helped improve productivity, processes and quality in the workshop without overstepping each other. For me it has always been excellent working with them.
Well, let’s say that when I was very young it was rather difficult, as all my days, afterschool, holidays were organized around running the ‘bottega’. I was feeling constrained. I’m not saying I hated it, but nearly… Then, in time I started to love it and I still feel so much love and gratification for the craft that my father taught me.
For me fresh pasta is love. It’s past, present and future. It lives in me. I was born and bred in this workshop, as I already told you, it’s where I discovered my passion, together with the love for my parents and my grandparents which I have seen dedicating their entire lives to the ‘bottega’. Passion and love which I still share with them.
Of course, I could forget some. Let’s start with the basic fresh pasta types: tagliatelle, tagliolini, quadrucci (small squares), capellini for broth, pappardelle, tonnarelli. Then we can enumerate some of the filled pasta types: tortellini, ravioli with spinach and ricotta cheese, with butternut squash, with taleggio cheese and radicchio, with porcini and pecorino cheese matured in barrel, with artichoke and cave matured caciocavallo cheese…
. . .Ravioli with four types of ricotta cheese, with aubergines and buffalo ricotta, with lemon and ricotta, ravioli of ‘The Cinque Terre’ with potatoes, pesto and green beans. . .
Yes, we make ravioli with monkfish, with broccoli bottarga (dried and cured fish egg sack) and anchovies of the Cantabrian Sea…
I forgot to mention the ravioli and the agnolotti ‘cacio e pepe’ (cheese and peper), cannelloni with meat, with ricotta cheese, ravioli with burrata (mozzarella formed into a pouch then filled with soft stringy curd and cream), with ricotta infornata (baked ricotta)…
Yes, we do, we make fresh pasta with organic wholemeal flour, with stone-ground Sicilian wheat flour, Kamut pasta, chestnut flour pasta, squid ink pasta, tonnarelli with basil…
Let’s just say that it’s a fusion between instinct and knowledge. You know, when you taste and learn about produce travelling around the world, you develop a certain intuition. I believe in a certain proverb which can be summed up to: the more you travel and taste new things the more you enlarge your culinary culture, the more subjected to stimuli the more likely are you neurons to spark a new idea. Sometimes fillings succeed, sometimes they need improving, either way the creative process is fulfilling.
No. I would be unfair. I put my soul in any of our products. And so does everyone who works with me. Together we trial, we sample, we confront. And then something can be more enjoyable to someone, and less to someone else… No, I wouldn’t want to leave out anything that I’ve created and we are producing.
Let’s say that I’ve mostly submitted what I personally like. Fortunately my personal taste reunites wide acclaim, maybe because it has refined across time, but there’s something even more important: in any Gamberoni product there’s our identity. It encloses everything we appreciate and all our knowledge, and this is what makes us continue successfully. We do not compromise, we only sell what we produce and nothing else, and this is what defines, differentiates and gratifies us.
Ah, this is like one of those questions I often get asked in some TV shows or abroad: ‘When’s the pasta ready?’ And just as often I reply translating something that my father used to say in the Ferrara dialect. It resumes to: when you start feeling the drops of sweat rolling down your back to your bottom! Only then you can be sure that you have worked the dough to reach its soft texture, and can then rest to later shape the pasta.
To sum things up, to make quality pasta you need strength, but not only: egg and flour are two living elements that need to feel warmth and affection.
Now you know, handmade pasta needs time, attention to detail and professionality. Our staff is since some time consolidated to 10 people, nearly all of our ‘sflogline’ have been working with us for almost twenty years and that goes to show how much we care about building the loyalty of our employees. Everyone who works with us is our brand ambassador. Achieving such durable working relationship with our employees for us means respecting them and the environment we have built together. We include this positive attitude towards people in everything we do.
It has always been our objective to offer our professional skill for social initiatives and we have chosen to work with the Cystic Fibrosis Lazio Association. Twelve years ago, we came up with the idea of organizing lavish dinners with the chefs of the Quirinale Palace and ‘Brigata dei Lucchesi’, after we went on to a different initiative to support the Association: every year we sell hampers packed with our products at advantage prices, and all the proceedings are donated entirely to the Association.
I believe that we should all, each in their own profession, instil culture and professionalism, specially today, the market and the society we live in have partially obscured the image and the professionalism of artisan crafts, therefore managing to relay this passion, achieving quality in handmade products that represent the excellence of our national traditions, is very important not just for the young generations but for everyone.
In Italy we have a huge potential which we unfortunately manage to exploit in very small proportion. If we think of the small artisan workshops which should absolutely be preserved, calling the attention of a wider public advocate for them especially abroad. It’s undeniable the difficulty of small artisan businesses like ours in crossing the national borders, but thanks professionalism and dedication, one can achieve the unthinkable.
It is my opinion that today, it is very important to emphasize the concept of seasonality of the produce in food industry, it means using produce harvested in the right season.
Such produce enhances the quality of any final product.
I would say so. It is important to stock main ingredients during the periods of peak quality of the produce: mushrooms top harvesting period is July-October; for butternut squash it’s September-December and so on for other produce. It is the period when the ingredient reaches its ripeness and it better preserves.