The one place outside of Italy that serves fresh pasta directly to your door. Everywhere.
A jump into the past...
Early dawn in Italy belongs to the fishermen landing their catch, cheese-makers making curds and bakers paddle-sliding dough into their ovens. There's another group of people stirring, too: grandmothers - nonne - making pasta for their family's lunch. It's the best time of the day, they say, and for them, love is putting food on the table. In their collective past there was not the abundance and choice there is today. Food and family are to be cherished, and pasta is the perfect vehicle to make precious ingredients go further. All Italians know their grandmothers are the best cooks, because they enjoy their Sunday lunch - or daily meal - served with a liberal sprinkle of adoration. Their nonne have cooked from scratch since they were old enough to roll dough and, by and large, only learn two or three pasta styles typical of their region. These vary dramatically from the cheese-and-butter-ladden gnocchi of the mountainous north to the homegrown tomato-based sauces served with knobbly and twisted pasta of the sun-soaked south. Many nonne have their own vegetable patch, or orto, growing their own beans, onions and herbs - not because it is cheaper, but because it tasted better. As one grandmother, points out: 'When you have good ingredients, they do the works for you'. And what isn't eaten immediately is bottled, pickled, placed under oil or dried for the winter months. All over Italy there are larders and cellars full of dried peppers, tomato passata and bejewelled jars of mixed pickled veggies. Every nonna has her own recipe; in fact, every nonna has her own recipe for everything. This website brings together the cooking of these women - Gael. The following reveals just how the story came about.
'Life is a combination of magic and pasta'
...where it all begins...
My first encounter with my Italian grandmother was a pair of knees. It was (1960) when I was born. My grandmother, Gaetana (same as mine), was sitting in the niche of a deep veranda of my grandparents' family home in Terzigno, Naples. When I was at my grandparents' house, it was one of those perfect warm late summer evenings, the full moon turning the sky a milky shade of plum. The garden was lined with poplar trees, and hurricane lamps dotted the night sky, providing an otherworldly glow. Living in Italy - or even if you don't - it's hard not to be fascinated by the nation's obsession with pasta. Meeting my grandmother made me understand how Italian culture and gastronomic traditions were changing and today I am here to expand Italian culture and traditions outside of Italy.
...and who I am now.
Hi, I'm Gaetana, the person behind Gael.
Pastagael (Gaetana + L), I was born in 196 in Terzigno, Naples - (Campania).
My parents were farmers. My dad was nice, but he made us run kids! I'm the second of seven, so I had the most difficult tasks: Get up at 5am and drive the cow while pulling the plow across the field before school and I had to make pasta. I started making pasta for the family when I was five or six, our chickens were used to pay off our debts, and so were their eggs. I left school when I was eleven because I had to work full time on the farm and I had to look after the sheep and the cows, collect the hay, that kind of thing. We were lucky, we always ate and raised rabbits and chickens. This is a common practice in rural Italy where animals are not pets, but raised for Sunday lunch. During the winter, when there was less work to do, I was a seamstress producing lingerie of a luxury shop in Naples. "A famous Italian brand bought the clothes I made!"
At 25y, (in 1985), I moved to the North of Italy to change my life. At 33 I had three children.
In those years I continued to bring my pasta tradition to other countries in northern Italy, when my children grew up to 55 we tried to open our first family-business in a tourist area of Italy close to the Sea. We tried to sell our pasta through simple and particular dishes, but after 3 years we decided that our future was elsewhere. In 2018 we moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands and when we arrived we realised my culture and my traditions here in this wonderful country they could be a reality. A few months later we opened my first business outside of Italy, I started with some restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and their customers started to like my pasta.