He’s a designer from Monza, she’s a teacher from Brescia, both cities in the Lombardy region. They have been living in Madrid for three years and recently launched a shop specializing in artisan foods. The couple, Francesco Maggi and Angelica Tinazzi, opened the doors to Casabase on December 4, 2015 and already are enjoying the results of their work. Careful selection of resources, farms and production methods have made their shop a gastronome’s temple in the Spanish capital.
Why did you choose this business?
We both have always had a passion for cooking and everything that involves food. We like traditional products, those closely connected to their territories, the flavors of long ago. We saw that Madrid didn’t have a shop that sold bread and the ingredients to make panini, the kind that’s part of the oldest Italian tradition. So we’re trying it.
Angelica and I moved here three and a half years ago for my ex-employer. We fell in love with the city, so we stayed. Madrid has a lot to offer and it’s a good place for our kind of business.
Let’s talk about your products. Where do you buy bread?
From a small local bakery, one of the last two with wood-burning ovens left in Madrid. It’s naturally leavened bread that arrives fresh every morning. We have different kinds: white flour, rye, multigrain, whole wheat, and some with raisins, nuts, or poppy seeds. We make focaccia, but our breads are all Spanish shapes and flours.
What other products do you sell?
We have many kinds of salumi, cured meats, that we import from a farm near Bergamo, Podere Montizzolo, for example prosciutto, ham, pancetta, speck, cotechino. Our cheese is almost all Italian and ranges from buffalo mozzarella to Parmigiano Reggiano di vacca bruna, from special brown cows. We have a couple of Spanish raw-milk goat cheeses, too. Our craft beers come from a master brewer in Monza, Birra del Carrobiolo, and a whole selection of spicy specialties from Peperita, a biodynamic firm in Livorno. We get Bottled conserves and oil-preserved items from Contadini – pickles, sauces, pesto – and pasta from Gragnano. We also have Spanish extra-virgin olive oil from Finca La Pontezuela, and Illy coffee.
Do you have a selection of sweets?
Yes, we work with an organic bakery in the mountains just outside Madrid. From them we get cakes and cookies, while breakfast pastries come from a French pastry shop in the city. For the holidays, we buy panettoni and columbe from a Veronese baker, Infermentum.
You make sandwiches, too. Which is the most popular?
We make panini with chapata, a typical Spanish bread that is very crisp and has little crumb, so it shows off the ingredients in the filling. The most popular one is the simplest, the Real, with prosciutto from Parma, mozzarella di bufala and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Another best-seller is Pan-ky, with salami, sheep’s milk ricotta, lemon-scented olive oil and cherry tomato confit.
Who are your biggest competitors?
I don’t know the entire city, so I can only refer to my neighborhood and the center, where I have lived for a while. Here, there are no real competitors because almost none of the shops that sell Italian products stock top quality goods. My wife and I believe that our country should be represented abroad by its very best foods. We are our own most exigent clients. If a product doesn’t satisfy us fully, we don’t sell it.
This article will soon be available in the next Wine Travel Food issue.
by Michela Becchi