The recent statement by Barilla about gay people and advertising have speeded the writing of this post that i had in mind.
But the aim of this post is not to talk about that. I'd like to explain why Barilla is so famous and what you could do if you'd like to boycott them. It won't be just an act of protest, but your taste will be pleased as well.
My favourite part of our Bologna Food Tour is the shopping lessons at Eataly because i give a lot of tips about oil, wine, beer and pasta. What i try to do in those few hours is not only to teach tourists about food souvernis to take home, but also to become better buyer as soon as they go back to their places.
Buying pasta inside Italy is a matter of choises, because we have a lot of different brands with different costs (pay attention, different brands don't always mean different producers), while outside Italy is probably a matter of distribution.
So why Barilla is the most sold pasta in the world?
Essentially for three reasons:
Spaghetti, photo by Peter Whiddon via Flickr
But Barilla is also the best Italian pasta?
The answer to this question is very easy and is NO. Not at all. The taste of wheat is weak, it doesn't holds up to cooking and doesn't absorb neither flavours nor the sauce.
So what can you do if you'd like to eat a very good pasta?
Well, if you're in Italy is quite easy indeed. If you'd like to pay a bit more you can look for artisan brands like Benedetto Cavalieri from Puglia (i'll talk about their spaghettoni soon with a full post), the Gragnano pasta Vicidomini, Gentile or Afeltra, or Felicetti from Trentino (all of those are from 2,5 to 3,5€ for 500g). Even here they're not that easy to find but they surely are the best italian brands you can have. If want to spend a little less and you don't like moving around you can find really good pasta in supermarkets: De Cecco, Garofalo and sometimes Rummo are everywhere.
If you live abroad you can try to buy online (Amazon.com, Eataly, AtmosferaItaliana all sell pasta Cavalieri) even if it could become so expensive with the shipping cost. Or you can just try to find some of the brands i told you in the nearest supermarket (i'm sure that De Cecco is well distributed).
But the last and most beautiful chance is to come to Italy, enjoy our Bologna Food Tour and then go back home with a bag full pasta!
The making of pasta, photo by Jim, via Flickr