Maria Colaneri, a long time local of the township of Healesville in the heart of the Yarra Valley, founded Yarra Valley Pasta in May 1997. A true visionary, she began with just a small semi – industrial pasta machine and a long list of traditional family recipes. Today, nearly a quarter of a century later, Maria’s daughter Lisa, along with her team of loyal pasta makers, have steadfully pursued a simple philosophy: to make a unique high quality pasta product while ensuring they follow an artisan approach to their craft, based on the unique culinary traditions learned from the Colaneri’s Italian ancestors.
EMBRACING THE HISTORY OF THE FOOD AND CULTURE OF THE COLANERI FAMILY FROM ITALY’S MOLISE REGION IN CENTRAL SOUTHERN ITALY
In the Colaneri’s home town of Frosolone in the heart of the Molise region of Italy, cooking is still a rite of love and dedication.
All the food products of the Molise retain the genuine flavours of this ancient peasant civilisation: wholesome & genuine ingredients, the unquestionable ability of its cooks and mountain air that sharpens the appetite. The strong and visceral attachment to the land is what makes up the daily way of life here; the life of the shepherd and farmer working the land continues to be such a true testament of the past.
The meats, salami’s & cheeses of the region are tasty & highly sought after, as the animals freely roam throughout the high plains & ravines, happily eating the fresh, natural crops of the mountain pastures. Under the generous subsoil of the mountains hidden treasures of white & black truffles can be found. The summer harvest of durum semolina wheat from the lower plains of the region form the main basis of the artisan style dried pasta products from local regional producers such as “La Rustichella,”manufactured from the sea side port of Termoli.
All egg based pasta (like Yarra Valley Pasta) is mostly made by hand in the home. In post war Europe, egg pasta was considered a luxury, usually only being made for special occasions. Today, “pasta artigiani con uovi” is often found in the restaurant kitchens & trattoria’s of the towns.
Through the wise work of the artisan cheese maker’s hands, milk is transformed according to simple, ancient techniques into the ricotta, caciocavallo, scarmorza and pecorino cheeses of the region with long ripening processes in the sparkling mountain air and time being the absolute sovereign of the entire production cycle.
In the restaurants, trattoria’s and mountain shelters of this undiscovered region of Italy, one can still eat the traditional dishes of the old peasant families. The guest sitting at the table is still a companion to be gratified.