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FROM PRECISION MECHANICS TO PASTA THE WONDER OF LE GEMME DEL VESUVIO
In the heart of Campania, in Castello di Cisterna, in the province of Naples, fifty varieties of exceptional artisan pasta are produced every day. Ziti, candele, cavatelli, taccozzi and also classic shapes such as spaghetti, penne and sedani, all of which are bronze dyed and strictly to be accompanied by a slowly cooked sauce, the type with an aroma that fills the streets on a Sunday and wafts through the landings of Campanian houses. They are made by Le Gemme del Vesuvio, a company created out of the Fornaro family’s success story, which began with precision mechanics and aeronautics and, by cleverly translating their acquired skills and their will to innovate, moved on to pasta, the very essence of Naples. We asked Arcangelo Fornaro, third generation businessman, what the companies strengths are, what is the key product and what are the prospects for foreign markets.
Mr Fornaro, what is your added value?
I would say family tradition, without doubt. We have always been entrepreneurs with a desire to innovate and diversify products. That is how we went from precision mechanics and aeronautics to pasta, by retaining working methods and know-how. To give an example, we created the machines we use for bronze dyeing.
What is your company’s current export quota?
We currently have a 30-35% export quota, with considerable growth margins: in fact, we expect to reach 40-45% within the year.
Out of the Gemme del Vesuvio products, is there one that you would describe as most unique?
Definitely one of the most recently created, the “munnezzaglia”, which is a mixed pasta comprised of 16 different shapes, some of which are broken by hand before they are packaged. We want to revive the old popular Neapolitan tradition of using the leftover pasta you used to be able to buy in “maccheronari” shops at the end of the day for a lower price than the more expensive, long macaroni.
There seems to be an appreciation for your pasta abroad, you have even won awards…
Yes, exactly. Two years ago, in 2010, we were the winners of the Great Taste Gold Award, which was valuable recognition for us. The most important thing, which I would like to highlight, is that we always try to maintain direct contact with foreign buyers. That is why we consider fairs to be crucial, as they provide an opportunity to present our products in the best light, as well as meet new people with whom we can form significant relationships for the sake of company growth.
For example, we had a considerable presence at Cibus in Parma, because it is essential to always be noticed. It was an important opportunity for us and I hope we made the best of it.