Alessandra Lonardo Mastella, administrator of the island’s Tourist Office, explains how tourism, culture and oenogastronomy find a perfect meeting place.
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Capri’s Tourist Office has a key role in advertising of the Blue Island, the pride not only of Campania region but also the standard bearer of our country’s image in international tourism. But in publicising Capri, what is the value added by its typical products and its most authentic cuisine, from the limoncello liqueur to the “torta caprese” cake, from the DOC wines to the fresh fish? We asked Alessandra Lonardo Mastella, who has been administrator of the Tourist Office since April, responsible for its financial, technical and administrative management, if she would kindly submit to our questioning. The cover of this issue is also dedicated to her.
”Mrs. Lonardo, tourism today has also to focus on interaction with the culture, and the wine and culinary traditions of the resort. That being the case, what has the Tourist Office done, and what is it planning to do to promote typical Capri cuisine and typical Capri products?”
The Capri Tourist Office programme gives a lot of space to the interaction between culture and the oenogastronomic tradition, taking the view that the culture of an area also comprises to its way of feeding itself. In fact, the Office has published a book “Sapori di Capri”, which is available from its own information points. Great success was achieved by the “Art and Culture” evening held on the splendid terrace of the Office’s premises on the occasion of the visit by journalists from “MiWine” and Enotour. The range of Capri wines and the islands typical products were presented on that occasion, which was also enlivened by a concert.
”What are the island’s typical products, and what are its most authentic recipes, those on which modern tourist publicity can and should focus?”
Naturally the “torta caprese” cake, the “delizie” pastries and the bignè al limone, the caprilù (marzipan with lemon), then the various liqueurs (limoncello, finocchietto, laurino) and the wines, red and white DOC from the two Capri firms, the Brunetti Brothers’ Vinicola Tiberio, and Caprense. Among the recipes we must not forget ravioli capresi, totani (squid) and potatoes, pezzogna (sea bream), and also pasta chick peas (cicerchia), “chiummenzana” spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, and chicken and rabbit cooked on hot brick.
”In your opinion, to what extent do Capri restaurants rely on the island’s typical products and most authentic recipes?”
Not all Capri restaurants emphasise typical dishes to the extent I believe they should. Capri’s wines and traditional dishes should have pride of place in all the island’s famous restaurants, but bearing in mind that our tourism is international, I believe our restaurateurs are wise to try to accommodate all tastes.
”In the events the Capri Tourist Office organises during the course of the year, is there room for some linked to the island’s typical products and cuisine?”
The Office has prepared a series of events that will take place in September and October 2004 and continue during the 2005 tourist season, in which Capri wine and food will play the leading role.
”What Italian and international fairs does the Tourist Office attend and what space to wine and food does it give in them?”
In the first place "Literary tastings”. Presentation of Capri wines combined with tastings of typical local products, with classical music and poetry.
Then a series of oenogastronomic and artistic exchanges with various countries of the world, starting with Argentina. Wine and food events will be organised along with our “The Painted Island” exhibition, to promote the typical products, the wine and the art of Capri. A second meeting is planned for November, In Saint Moritz, in collaboration with the local Tourism Office.
Finally, the Capri Tourist Office took part in the international wine and food fair held at Riva del Garda, presenting products typical of the island and achieving a marked success.
GELSOMINA’S FRIED FOOD
A day visit necessarily provides only a few flash shots: Marina Grande, the Funicular the Piazzetta, via Camarelle with its shops, the great hotels, if all goes well a walk to Punta Tragara with a view of the Faraglioni, or to Tiberius’ Villa. However, a few days on the island are enough to discover another Capri, one where one can appreciate the splendid walks that take one to every part of the island, starting from the centre of Capri or of Anacapri. The lanes, the alleys, the paths are well kept and in most cases paved; one need only equip oneself with a comfortable pair of tennis shoes. And since a good walk brings on an appetite, it also provides an opportunity to appreciate the local cuisine. The Belvedere Migliara is a strategic point; the view ranges from the Punta Carena lighthouse on one side, to Punta Ventroso and then to the Faraglioni on the other. Here, right in front of the entrance to the Park of Philosophy created by the Swedish couple Marianne and GunnarAdler Karlsson, we find the Ristorante Gelsomina. After the walk (about an hour from Piazza Vittoria at Anacapri) and a refreshing dip in the restaurant’s pool, the delicate Capri fry accompanied by a cold white wine provides real refreshment. And it is Gelsomina herself, a young lady with emerald green eyes, who serves it to us.