Our land’s flavor

Gastronomy and art expert Annamaria Parlato, author and events curator, tells us about her new book “Guides to one hundred and twenty places in Salerno and province.”

By Anna Volpicelli 

Her passion for food and art has been the common thread in her life, including her professional life. Annamaria Parlato, a mayonnaise art historian and gastronomy expert, has loved genuine afternoon snacks made of bread baked in a wood-burning oven with fiordilatte from Tramonti or Agerola since childhood. After several experiences in the world of culture and food and wine, both as an author, including collaboration with Authentic Amalfi Coast, with the Quotidiano del Sud, to name a few, and as an events curator, from which PAMart, a cultural consulting and design studio, was born, she founded 2ingredienti. It is an online blog and magazine dedicated to the flavors and art history of the area, where you can find recipes, events, restaurant reviews, and more. In 2019 she received the “Io Donna per Maiori” VII edition award from the municipality of Maiori for her dedicated work in culture, food, and wine, bringing the name of the Amalfi Coast worldwide. Devoted to enhancing the tradition and innovation of territorial cuisine and always looking for novelties in the local food& beverage sector, she has recently published her first book, “Guide to one hundred and twenty restaurants in Salerno and province” (Edizioni dell’Ippogrifo). We met with her to learn more. 

How did the idea for the book come about? 

The desire to write a book has always been there, but I never managed in the past to materialize it. Then finally, in November 2021, during an editorial meeting of the online newspaper Salernosera, with editor Andrea Manzi, we decided to go beyond the regular programming of the articles contained in the weekly column Gustando, which I edited. We put together a project that would collect all my gastronomic research on the vast Salerno area from about ten years ago, which would also be helpful for the reader.

What are the typicalities of the Amalfi Coast, both in terms of sea and land flavors? 

The gastronomy of the Amalfi Coast is unique and valuable. As in the entire province of Salerno, here too, there are the best products, a high concentration of DOP, IGP, D.e.C.o., DOCG marks, and this makes us realize how important it is to preserve native crops, respect the environment, and safeguard the artisanal work of those who for generations have made superhuman efforts to ensure the continuity of production. Tramonti’s pizza, sfusato Amalfitano, colatura di Alici di Cetara, red, white, and rosé wines, cow’s and sheep’s milk cheeses, fiascone tomatoes, the list could go on and on because in this sun-kissed strip of land, protected by the Lattari Mountains and the coveted by the sea, nothing is lacking. The kitchen workers have excellent raw materials available daily to express their creativity.  

The author Annamaria Parlato

How does tradition combine with innovation? 

The rich basket of products is the basis for making traditional recipes often revisited, especially by younger people who wink at new culinary trends. The secret to combining innovation and tradition is to maintain the proper balance without ever overdoing it and going overboard, preserving the freshness of the raw material, studying the combinations at the table, using techniques and tools wisely, combining aesthetic beauty and flavor, making the dish delicious to the eyes and palate. I believe this is a successful compromise, and those who abide by all these rules certainly have the doors to success wide open.

What do you think are the emerging figures in the local culinary scene to watch?

The guide, divided geographically by territories, makes the reader understand how in the coastal areas, from the Amalfi Coast to Cilento, there is more experimentation, perhaps dictated by the fact that we are talking about territories with a high tourist vocation where chefs have adapted to tastes that are a tad more international. The inland areas of the province of Salerno, on the other hand, have remained anchored to a more traditional, authentic, genuine cuisine, even if then, right here, there are unexpected flashes of creativity perceptible in the kitchens of young chefs, whimsical pastry chefs or enterprising pizza chefs who after long apprenticeships have returned to the base to combine local knowledge with modern gastronomic contaminations that are to be kept an eye on without a doubt.

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