The Mediterranean basin has some of the oldest cuisines on earth; the fresh food here is renowned for being healthy, but moreover, for the simplicity of its enticing flavors.
The warmth of the Mediterranean Sea gives life to beloved dishes. Some have hit the mainstream and are now served all over the world; we have lost others trough time.
A third category is perhaps the most interesting, preparations found only in unique places, real hidden treasures that require skill to prepare — this is the case of Culurgiones.
The island of Sardinia is full of mysteries. Secluded from the rest of Italy, it has developed its own traditions while exchanging influence with neighboring regions. The food, both from land and sea, is unmistakably Sard.
Culurgiones are handmade stuffed pasta, like ravioli, but not quite. They’re incredibly challenging to produce; it takes patience and a real passion for making them right. Expert pasta makers need one hour to make 500 grams of the delicate pasta.
The two-bite sized Culurgiones have never been only food; they’re a sign of respect and friendship. They’re a way to show how much you care, and they make every family dinner a memorable occasion.
The story doesn’t end here; there are several variations of the dish and are well-kept secrets passed on through generations.
Cooks at Trapani, the Mediterranean port along the western Sicilian coast, make a their own Culurgiones filled with ricotta, parsley, and cinnamon.
The most original version, though, comes from Sardinia itself, from the eastern Ogliastra region. Here, the durum wheat pasta is filled with the unbeatable pecorino Sardo cheese mixed with potatoes, garlic, and mint. These are the legendary Culurgiones Ogliestrini.
The magic happens when it’s time to close the pasta. Every Culurgione is closed by pinching the fresh dough to create a seal in the form of a wheat spigot. It takes years to master the chiusura a spighita, but it makes the pasta as beautiful as it is delicious.
Special occasions call for exclusive preparations. Christmas time is the perfect moment to enjoy a culinary delicacy like Culurgiones. Stuffed with ragu and bathed in tomato sauce; this is no regular pasta; this is a handcrafted piece of culture; of history.
The Italian pasta makers Simone Usenato and Vincenzo Patti, founders of Vicio Il Mastro Pastaio in Amsterdam, are one of the few craftsmen who make the time-consuming Culurgiones outside Italy, made with 100% Italian ingredients.
The holiday season is never about the food, it’s about the stories behind it, about the experience. Authentic food catered in a personalized menu, made by true artisans; that’s the right way to celebrate with your family.