|The Moscatelli family. Davide, helped by his father Giancarlo, is in charge of the mill. His sister, Stefania, is in charge of the agriturismo.||Via del Mulino 2, Filattiera (Massa Carrara), Italy|
|Agriturismo Mulino Moscatelli||http://www.agriturismomulinomoscatelli.it|
Wheat flour, whole-wheat flour, acorn flour, chestnut flour, durum wheat flour, chickpea flour (but the chickpeas are bought, not grown by them) and various kinds of pasta, which they make with their own flours.
Now, a functioning and working water mill is NOT something you get to see every day. The grains – or chestnuts or chickpeas, depending on the type of flour being made- pour extremely slowly, almost one by one in between the rotating stone wheel and a flat unmoving surface. The stream passes above, the water slamming into the turbine and making it turn (of this, DO see pictures). Although the grains are not certified organic – Davide doesn’t believe in a certification that you have to pay to have – he grows his crops without the use of any pesticides or chemicals.
They make their pasta close by. Using only their own flours and water, they shape it and then let it dry for 30 hours at a temperature of 40° C. And take a moment to compare this to industrial processes, where pasta is dried in less than 8 hours and at way higher temperatures.
At this point, Davide highlights the importance of not letting the temperature rise too high during both production processes – grinding the grains and drying the past. Indeed, if either burned, it would cause the flour to lose a lot of its properties.
Following the advice of a family friend who has worked for a long time selecting producers for a Slow Food market, I called Davide Moscatelli and asked him if I could meet him at his mill to see how he and his family made their products.
Their mill is in a fantastic place, which I’m sorry you can’t really see from the pictures. I’m still learning, and places aren’t yet my thing. But you CAN admire my overexposed version of the crop in front of their house (yes, that’s what it is).
Anyhow, the house is in the middle of crops and fields, surrounded by lush, green hills – deep in the Lunigiana area, which in old times was said to go from Monterosso (one of the Cinque terre) until around Carrara, encompassing parts of Liguria, Tuscany and Emilia.
Davide is 27 years old, so I asked him how he happened to be running a mill a bit in the middle of nowhere. Turns out that his great-grandparents used to work that same land as tenants. Once the system was overturned, his family bought the house and the crops. His father, though, could not manage to live off the mill alone, as products from the industries were then the big thing, and not many people wanted stone ground, hence rougher, flours. So Giancarlo kept it as a side job, meanwhile working for the Italian railroad. Nowadays, much has changed, and customers are happy to pay a bit more for products made without weird stuff being added. Davide runs the mill and makes the pasta while his sister Stefania manages their agriturismo.
It’s a hard job, no doubt about it. The day when I went was hot and by the end of the visit I was already covered in a slight coat of dust, flour and sweat which made me even more thankful of they time they take to make such great, cared-for products.
Could you find it @La Sosta?
Yes:) It’s the basic ingredient of our focaccia, made by Fulvia or Luca, which you’ll find at dinner @La Sosta Kitchen.