Archive for August, 2011

Artist Corner

August 15, 2011

We’d like to introduce Laura Wade, a dear friend of ours and a very accomplished young painter. We’ve commissioned Laura to paint us a series of works for Centotre – watch this space!

Wynad Pepper

August 12, 2011

Very dear friends of ours, Colin and Kolquin live in India. Colin is in his 70’s and Kolquin in his 80’s. About 15 years ago they retired and chose the region of Kerala as their home. They bought a few acres of land and adopted the locals as their own. Para, Johnson and many others. They decided to start growing pepper as Kerala is the most famous growing area in the world for this incredible spice.

Victor and I were able to visit them in 2001. We found a community of three generations living in the most stunning countryside you could ever imagine. Grandparents, parents and children are working in this plantation. Thanks to the success of the pepper and all the support from Colin and Kolquin these families have running water, all the modern conveniences we enjoy, their children go to school and are clothed and fed. All of these basic needs that we take for granted didn’t exist for these families before the plantation was established.

We have bought the pepper for many years but we’re really sorry to say we hadn’t ordered any for over two years. We now have this back in stock. White for The Scottish Cafe an black for Centotre.

What makes this pepper so special is that it’s hand picked and it’s organic. Unlike commercial pepper that you buy each string of berries is picked from the pepper vines only when they are ripe. This makes the picking three to four times more labour intensive that commercial peppers. Once picked they are left in the sun to dry for a few days then they are pasteurised to prevent salmonella. Cases of salmonella is very high in pepper due to the elephant and cow dung that is used as fertiliser.

White pepper is black pepper with the skin removed which is also done by hand by Wynad. We buy direct therefore ensuing that all the money goes back to the plantation to support the families. While fair trade ensures a fair price, the growers don’t get the best price and sometimes there can be three or four tiers of middle men inflating the price to the end users but not ensuring the best price for the growers.

Wynad is a huge story. But the region has had great losses over recent years. There has been a lot of blight and many of the crops have failed. Leading to one of the highest suicide rates of any farming community in the world. Grandfathers and fathers have been lost due to
the devastating loss of income these communities has suffered. One less mouth to feed has been the sacrifice these men have made for
their families futures.

So when you’re putting that little bit of ‘gioventù’ as we say in Italy, youth, on your food, it’s really a much much bigger and very special story…

Visit Wynad’s website to find out more : www.paraspepper.com

Handmade Orecchiette – Puglia Style

August 6, 2011

On our recent family holiday to Italy we were lucky enough to visit the Puglia region and there we found Lucia! Lucia was kind enough to show us how she makes orecchiette, by hand! It’s the way her mother made it, and her mother’s mother before her, and her mother’s mother’s mother before her, and her mother’s mother’s mother’s mother before her…! You get the idea!

Lucia’s family recipe uses semolina flour, fresh egg and a little water to bind. When time’s were tight, eggs were not an option and the family would just use flour and water. Check out the video’s on our Facebook page here – you can see how expertly she mixes, kneads, cuts and shapes the pasta. It’s not as easy as it looks! Trust us! We all had a go. One of the joys of running a family business is we get to work together, share a home together, holiday together and make pasta together!!

Christmas at Centotre!

August 2, 2011

It might be August but we’re already getting excited about Christmas!! And we’ve got great ideas for your festive party!

Centotre is perfect for your festive lunch or dinner! Our Christmas dining package includes a four course menu using local ingredients paired with authentic Italian flavours, mulled wine and table treats. Best shared with friends! Visit our Christmas page HERE for more details. And email reservations@centotre.com to book your table today!