By Lauren Hermon
When his 10-year-old son asks why Nonnas make the best food, Claude Cicchiello is always lost for words.
He doesn’t exactly know the answer, but there’s no doubt Claude is proud of his children’s Nonna’s recipes, which is why he has put together a collection in the book Famiglia – Recipes made with love and tradition.
The book features recipes from Claude’s late mother, Rosa Cicchiello, who was co-founder of South Australian cheese makers La Casa Del Formaggio.
After sharing some of these recipes on social media in the past, the response Claude and the rest of the La Casa Del Formaggio team received was “unexpectedly personal”.
“People contacted us to thank us, saying that a relative had cooked something like this but they had passed away before handing down the recipe,” Claude says.
“Part of our objective with this book was to preserve some of those traditional recipes for the generations of Australians to come,” he adds.
Rosa and her husband, Gerardo, were raised in southern Italian villages near Benevento. In 1964, they separately immigrated to Adelaide and first met while Gerardo was riding his bike down Magill Road.
Soon after, they married and started a family. Over time, they longed for the food they grew up with in Italy, which is why they started La Casa Del Formaggio in 1988.
For Claude, the book represents more than a story of a migrant family who settled into success in South Australia.
“Italian recipes are often taught through ‘doing’ and are rarely written down. There is a growing interest in Italian food around the world and particularly here in Australia,” he says.
“So, I guess the book is also a way for people not coming from an Italian heritage to explore some aspects of traditional Italian food culture.”
The book has favourite Italian recipes such as lasangna, arancini balls, tiramisu and mozzarella sticks, as well as some of the less commonly known, like Rosa’s ricotta donuts and fried napoletana eggplant stacks.
Claude and sister Marisa became involved in La Casa Del Formaggio in the early 90s and still run the business today.
Famiglia – Recipes made with love and tradition is available from the La Casa Del Formaggio Glynde factory shop and some independent retail supermarkets.
La Casa Del Formaggio is a Brand South Australia member.