At the end of 2020, Colatura di Alici di Cetara got the PDO certification and, thanks to this, it will be possible to buy bottles of this sauce all around the national territory in 2021
By Anna Volpicelli, photo by Vito Fusco
Pierpaolo Ferrigno, a fisherman from Cetara, goes out on his boat every night, from March until October, to fish anchovies. The 36 years old man, together with a team of eleven fishermen, navigates the salty Salerno Gulf’s waters, the perfect environment to find anchovies. “It’s a family tradition. For me, it started when I was ten years old and I would accompany my father. I used to go with him during the summer vacations even during my first year of middle school. My life revolves around the sea,” he says, smiling. The night is dark, but the lights of the fishing lights attractors illuminate the path for these men. “Usually, we return to Cetara around 4 in the morning. We keep what we fish on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for the Colatura; so as soon as we touch the ground, the anchovies are stocked in boxes full of ice and delivered to the manufacturing companies”.
The anchovies’ dripping is not a recent discovery: a similar sauce, called garum, had already been made by the Ancient Romans. Then, during the Middle Ages, a group of monks from Cetara found the recipe and started to put the anchovies covered in salt in wooden barrels to recreate it. Even if with the passing years the process changed, the fundamental steps to make the Colatura are still the same. Also, not only the method differs but the fishing techniques changed as well. In the past, people were using a MENAIDE, a type of net made up of a single sheet of equal mesh and around three hundred – four hundred meters. During the 20s, the fishing lights attractor had been added and at the end of the 40s, the fishermen started to use a technique involving surrounding nets so that they could trap anchovies under the lights in an easier way.