The dark-haired man in front of the vegetable shop just needs a few quick movements. In one hand he is holding a round fruit and in the other a handy WÜSTHOF Amici Paring Knife. Just like that, Nonna Olga is neatly presented with an aromatic chunk of melon on the tip of his knife. ‘Ciao Olga - try it! I got the cantaloupe fresh from Francesco this morning. He picked it yesterday!’
Olga reaches out to Giuliano, smiling with pleasure. The two have known each other for so long, they don't need many words to understand each other when it comes to culinary delight.
A good meal starts with fresh regional ingredients, which I prepare with good knives and cook according to tried-and-tested recipes. Slicing and chopping them yourself is more work than getting convenience food from the supermarket, especially if you have a large family. But it's fun and everyone is rewarded with authentic flavour. Only freshly prepared vegetables have the right bite, are crunchy and healthy.explains the vegetable specialist
Their region is just meant for this. The hilly landscape at the foot of the Pollino massif is very fertile and is a paradise for food fans who particularly love fruit and vegetables, such as the ‘Cipolla rossa di Tropea’, a mild almost sweet onion, famous far beyond the borders of Calabria, or olives, bergamots, peaches, potatoes and of course juicy tomatoes. The range is wide and varies according to the season.
Olga has come for inspiration. In the evening she plans to prepare some treats for family and friends. Together with Giuliano, she chats about traditional family recipes and local classics, little by little her basket fills up and soon the menu for the evening is decided. Giuliano quickly fetches a crate of aubergines from the storehouse and, before Olga sets off home, satisfied, she invites him over for the evening – good friends are always included in Calabria.
Giuliano Pitarri is a friendly man, in his mid-50s and obviously Calabrese. He always greets his customers with a smile. This is part of his nature, but also supports his philosophy: exceptional quality, mutual trust, and courteous service - including delivery service, of course.
‘When a customer asks me to bring groceries to her home, I sometimes look deeply into her eyes, asking: 'When is it convenient for you, when will your husband not be home? ' and winking at her. The older ladies are immediately flattered and keep coming back.’
He inherited his passion for fruit and vegetables – and later the shop – from his father, who also took it over from his father. So being a greengrocer is in his genes. And it's no surprise that his favourite supplier is his son, who farms a beautiful piece of land on the outskirts of the small town of Castrovillari, Calabria.