|Michele Grassi and his mother||Via Castruccio 24, Sarzana (SP), Italy|
|Enogastronomia le Due Lune – Alimentari Michele||No website, but his number is (+39) 0187 621700|
Looking for small producers sometimes feels like they’re all gone. Or have gone into hiding, or just really don’t want to meet you. They are NOWHERE. Thus, if someone has already gone through at least part of the search, it really helps.
This is why I went to look for Michele at his enogastronomia Le Due Lune in the little town of Sarzana. Years ago we had stumbled into his shop and had then found interesting products, and his name had turned up again, this time recommended by a very good local chef (Mauro Ricciardi).
No sign on the entrance. I look in thinking I must be mistaken, but no, an elderly lady behind the counter, who will turn to be his mother, assures me this is the place. If she says so…and indeed, it was.
In this project I initially wanted to talk about the niche producers that work so hard to maintain a local culture of food and of the land. But after meeting Michele, I think he too deserves a description; though he may not be producing anything, he knows a lot about all of the people who do, and of the whys and hows. He has spent years living in this part of Liguria and slowly selecting the top-notch products foods, wines and oils he sells in his store.
A quiet man, he has already taken time twice for me to talk about the excellences I could find in the area. Even after hearing me out the first time, he took out his book of addresses (yes, no tablet or computer) and started skimming thought it, every once in a while giving me a name, phone number and what they made.
Soon I’ll be going to meet most of the ones he has told me about, so here are the names (you may read about them later on :
– Naturalmente Lunigiana, cheese (and OH WHAT CHEESE), owned by Pierpaolo;
– Claudia, who comes from three generations of farmers and makes a DIVINE ricotta and may have some fresh meats;
– Sonia Nardi (azianda agricola Bardine Lunigiana), producer of a local variety of apples and uses to make her own juice;
– Fabio, who makes a chestnut bread which seems fresh for like a week after you’ve first tried it (and trust me, I’ve tried).
P.S., a bit off track: after all the food-talking, he then let me smell some perfumes he had in the back of his shop, made by the maître parfumeur Maria Candida Gentile, from Sarzana itself.
They were so good, I thought I could at least include her link. http://mariacandidagentile.com/it/