It is as through artisanal cultivation where a large magnifying glass points at the raw materials: it emphasizes the characteristics, it reveals the secrets and it tells the story. For this reason, obtaining a plate of healthy, nourishing, tasty pasta means weighing up all the choices, starting with the selection of the variety of hard wheat. The qualitative values must be in agreement, just like a musical composition: the quantity of protein, the gluten index, the yellow index and the test weight. Only in this way can the final symphony call itself quality. Criteria of balance and proportion shape all the operative stages and how the words themselves come about, even the fields that surround the pasta factory - after the growing of wheat has depleted them of nutrients by absorbing their richness - are cyclically sown with peas or beans; species that restore the land to its original fertility. The Mancini farm's fields, therefore, look like an elegant, multicoloured quilt, according to a typical agronomic tradition in the Marche that enhances the aesthetic of the landscape whilst preserving the productivity of the land. In the summertime the gilt of the near-ready corn sits alongside the soft brown of the fields that have been harvested, whilst the yellow of the sunflowers - a rotation crop - stands out next to the potent green of the legumes and the alfalfa.
Bent over themselves because of the weight of the grains but just strong enough because the tops do not touch the ground, the ears of corn that pack the slopes of the Mancini farm meet their destiny during the months of June and July: threshing. The sluggish sound of combine harvesters emanates under the sun and showers of golden flakes, perfumed by the land, whirl through the air. San Carlo and Levante durum wheat, both cultivated on the same surfaces, are the two varieties selected to become pasta. The first adapts well to the south-facing soil that is well aired, while the second gives excellent results, even on the plains and the colder slopes. However, in harmony with grandfather Mariano's spirit of enterprise, one part of the land is reserved each year for the experimentation of new crops to add to the usual pairing, like annual variations of an already perfect musical score.
A common thread unites all the phases of work at the Mancini pasta factory. It is the idea of enveloping and protecting. And it is an energy that pulsates predominantly in autumn, when the San Carlo and Levante are stored in silo bags; polythene bags laid out on a wide, flat surface similar to extremely long, parallel pillows. After many weeks of light the grain is put aside to rest sheltered from sunlight, which is repelled by the white of the casing.
A protected repose that does not demand the aid of chemical components, given that it takes advantage of the ventilation of the grains; thereby favouring the natural development of carbon dioxide, which is perfect for inhibiting the growth of organisms that are harmful to the health of the crop.
he health of the crop.
Our family produces top-quality pasta from wheat we grow in 10 hectares of our own fields in the Marche, in central Italy. We’ve worked this land for three generations in the unspoiled countryside of this beautiful hilly area. We harvest the grain in June and July, and rotate the fields with other crops like sunflowers and fava beans. To get nutritious, well-flavored pasta, you need to start with the best varieties of hard, durum wheat. That’s why we decided to grow our own and to make our pasta only from this freshly ground wheat. We built a custom-designed, small factory right in the middle of the wheat fields so we could control the quality of our wheat and every stage of the pasta production. We use bronze dies for the eleven pasta shapes we produce: they give an artisanal, textured finish to the pasta that makes it hold its sauces better. The pasta dries slowly at gentle temperatures so it retains all its wheat flavor and nutrients. Today, Massimo Mancini is guided by the teachings of his late grandfather, Mariano, as he works alongside his father, Giuseppe, to produce some of Italy's finest pasta.