World’s Best Pasta Secrets

World’s Best Pasta Secrets
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When Giuseppe Di Martino and his sister decided they wanted to create the world’s best pasta, they did something unusual.

They gathered together the farmers, the millers, the equipment manufacturers and the packagers and asked them how they should do it.

‘We put them around the table and asked them what we needed to do to make the best pasta ever with no price limit, what it would take,’ Di Martino tells ANSA. ‘We started from the field and ended up with a pasta inside a square box within a box’.

Their colorful label, Pastaficio dei Campi, was established in Gragnano near Naples by Di Martino and his sister, Giovanna, in 2007.

Their family was already well known for its Pastificio Di Martino label which is now 100 years old but they wanted to try something different.

‘People in the family thought we were mad, they said why should we change. If it’s not broken, there’s nothing to fix,’ Di Martino says with a smile.

But he and his sister wanted to make an exceptionally high quality pasta that merged its origins and commitment to quality with modern marketing techniques that only the Internet could provide.

As a result they produce only 300 kilograms of pasta a day and their ‘limited edition’ pastas are promoted as ‘a symbol of Italy’s culinary art’ to gourmet food lovers around the world.

But Di Martino says the secret is selling the story of the people behind it.

‘We dedicated this project to people and now people can buy a product and link it to a human being,’ Di Martino says. ‘We realized the value in talking to people and we started to talk about immaterial value – the expression of the territory’.

Since the company began producing pasta four years ago its worldwide sales have grown to 4.5 million euros annually. Their Gragnano pasta is now sold in Toronto, Brussels, Tokyo and Melbourne and central to Di Martino’s strategy is the Internet and social media. Di Martino’s customers can take a Google map and visit the grain producer and check the harvest personally or visit his website and meet his staff. Clients can also visit blogs based in Barcelona, Paris, London or Hamburg and chat about what they think of the pasta in their own language.

‘I have no problem living in a glass house,’ Di Martino says. ‘It is a circle of communication. You need to be sure what you say can be proven.

‘In the first year we had customers who didn’t trust us so we sent them into the fields with a GPS and told them to talk to the farmers. People were so shocked that what we said was true.

‘My competition says ‘You are mad, you are giving away too many secrets!. I say ‘No, I am simply raising the bar’. The company uses durum wheat which is milled and transformed into semolina before being made into different shapes. The pasta is laid out on wooden frames and placed in drying cells where it remains for the entire drying period.

Quality control experts then check the pasta before it is packaged and sealed.

Di Martino says the quality of the wheat, the mixing of the dough and the slow drying, natural cooling and careful packaging are crucial in producing the best product.

Di Martino shared his approach to social media and internet marketing at the fifth annual Buy Tourism Online conference held in Florence at the end of November.

(ANSA) – Gragnano, December 5 -by Josephine McKenna “Pasta maker Di Martino Shares Secrets Behind World’s Best Pasta”.

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