|Umberto and Mariella Devoto||Mercato Coperto, Levanto (SP), Italy|
|Company’s name:||Telephone number:|
|Da Mariella||(+39) 339 5431677|
Fish. And a lot of it.
The fish that arrives at the market is both from farms or has been fished that night in the Mediterranean; only salmons come from outside of the Mediterranean, fished in Scotland or Norway.
We have always bought all of the fish we serve at La Sosta from Mariella and Umberto. Mother and son, they own a stall in Levanto’s local market; in the summer, they are there every morning to sell what they’ve just bought from the fish market/auction in La Spezia, a nearby port town.
We have become friends – my father also gets his fish from them for our family dinner on Saturdays – so I decided to ask them if one morning they could bring us along to see where (and how) they selected and bought their fish.
In this case, I hope the images of this post will tell most of the story; I would just like to add some details.
We – Luca (La Sosta’s chef), Justin (a friend of mine) and I woke up at 3.50am and arrived at La Spezia at 5am, following Umberto as he sped along on the highway at a slightly illegal speed. There we met the auctioneer, an 86-year-old man (the darker skinned man you can see in the pictures) who has worked there for 60 years. Though he is retired, he’s there every morning yelling out outrageous prices for each fish box, which are then countered by the buyers.
And so the day begins. The auction lasts for around two hours; Umberto and Mariella will then quickly drive back to Levanto to sell, with a ridiculously small markup, what they bought in those early hours of the morning.
Everybody at the action knows everybody else; many have become friends after all these years.
All would become very serious, almost angry, when the fish was being sold, trying hard to get a good price and beat the others. But as soon as the box was sold, in the short time preceding the next auction, they would turn around for a pat on the back, a smile or a laugh, their anger forgotten at least until the next fish came along.
Could you find it at La Sosta?
Yes, as we serve a different type of fish almost every evening, carefully prepared for you by the staff @La Sosta Kitchen.