Pasta Stage

From Grain to Pasta: Gastronomic Sciences Students in Campania, Abruzzo and Puglia to Discover the Best Pasta Makers in Italy

From May 8 to 12 the students enrolled in the first year of the degree course at the University of Gastronomic Sciences will be traveling to the south of Italy to learn all about one of the countryís most famous foods: pasta. Divided into four groups, the students will be visiting respectively the Premiato Pastificio Afeltra in Gragnano, near Naples; the Pastificio Garofalo also in Gragnano; the Pastificio De Cecco in Fara San Martino, in Abruzzo; and the Antico Pastificio Cavalieri in Maglie, in Puglia.

At these four locations the students will learn about the history of pasta, its nutritional values, the value of raw materials, the various phases of production and transformation, up to distribution, sales and marketing.
Two groups will be based in Gragnano, near Naples. One will be hosted by the Premiato Pastificio Afeltra, where they will learn how the company has integrated the most highly advanced technology with ancient traditions. Additionally they will be shown the secrets of slow drying and bronze die cutting, and take part in a cooking test that compares artisanal, semi-artisanal and industrial pastas.
Meanwhile at the Pastificio Garofalo, part of the Consortium of Gragnano Pasta Makers, the other group will be studying the history of the local agriculture, the nutritional importance of pasta and Garofaloís sales, marketing and communications. Additionally they will visit the Casillo mill in Corato, in Puglia, to learn about the crucial first steps of selecting the grain and milling the flour.
On the other side of the peninsula, one group will be on the edge of the Maiella National Park, at the Pastificio De Cecco in Abruzzo. Here, they will cover not only history, mixing, drawing and drying but also work-environment safety, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), SA 8000 certification and distribution.
From Abruzzo further south to Puglia, where the fourth group will be at the Antico Pastificio Cavalieri in Maglie, in the province of Lecce. Here the students will follow the entire chain of production for Triticum durum, the hard wheat used in pasta making. A series of field trips and guided visits will teach students about the cultivation (organic and conventional), life cycle, harvest and blending of the grain. Further lessons will underline the importance of pasta in the Mediterranean diet, its nutritional value and current legislation regarding pasta. A dinner at La  Cucina Casareccia with a demonstration of fresh pasta making will complete the stage.

For all the students the days will be filled with lessons and tours that will cover every aspect of pasta. However there will also be time for cultural activities, with visits to Naples, Gallipoli on the Puglian coast and the renowned baroque city of Lecce, bringing the students to an deeper understanding of both the cultural and gastronomic history and traditions of the south of Italy.


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