History and Traditions in the Valley of the Mills
Gragnano is a hill town 30 Km south of Naples, overlooking Pompeii and Vesuvius, just outside Castellammare and it port in Naples Bay; it’s location halfway between Sorrento and Amalfi is ideal to visit Sorrento, Capri, the Amalfi Coast as well as the countryside of the Campania region of Italy.
Pasta Tradition making pasta in Gragnano is an ancient art form that involves history, culture, patience, secrets and traditions. The town’s main street was laid out expressly to capture the mountain breeze mixed with sea air back when pasta makers hung spaghetti on drying rods like laundry. Now, heaters are used to dry the pasta at 122 degrees Fahrenheit for two days, resulting in a nuttier aroma and a chewier feel.
Mountain & Sea Air Spring Water and Sunshine are Key to Pasta Quality
The Valley of the Mills is famous for its spontaneous springs and Gragnano’s water is important for its therapeutic and diuretic properties. It is also a favorite destination for tourists who sip delicious water in full contemplation of the area’s landscape while its artistic patrimony is reflected in the many centuries-old churches such as Corpus Domini, which houses one of the largest canvases in Europe - over 400 square meters.
The 200 Gragnano Pasta Factories Contributed 10 Percent of Italy’s Production a Century Ago
The Gragnano Pasta Cooperative represents small producers in the area; it holds that the dough should be made solely from Italian wheat, be pushed through perforated bronze plates to mold it, and that the resulting strands, sheets and elegant shapes must be dried at temperatures no higher than 122 degrees. Higher temperatures burn the dough.
Greco di Tufo is one of Campania’s finest whites and is perhaps the oldest wine in all of Italy. Greco refers to its Ancient Greek origins, after those who first brought the grape to Italy and cultivated it on the slopes of the Vesuvius. The first written account is found in a poem fragment from 6 BC in Pompeii. Written on a wall, it reads: You are cold, Bice, truly a piece of ice, if even the Greco wine could not warm your heart last night.
It is Cultivated in Tufo, Santa Paolina, Prato di Principato Ultra, Montefusco, Altavilla Irpina, Chianche, Petruro Irpino, and Torrioni. Only the hillsides of these areas are considered suitable for this wine as valleys and points of lower elevation are humid and lack the necessary sunlight and mountain breezes. To be considered Greco di Tufo, which has had DOC appellation since 1970 and DOCG since 2003, 85% must be of Greco di Tufo, with up to 15% coda di volpe. The wine can also be a sparkling spumante.
Greco di Tufo is not a mild-mannered wine. With zesty, fresh flavors of peaches, pear and herbs, coupled with restrained aromas of almond and apricot; a fully dry white wine with a sharp minerality. It is these distinct notes that place Greco di Tufo one step above the two-other great white Campania wines, Falanghina and Fiano di Avellino. Some believe that it complements mild dishes nicely, such as seafood, rice and pasta in butter or white sauces; others think that it pairs perfectly with strong dishes of veal, chicken, and cheeses.