Returns to Cilento and transforms family shop into a cutting-edge pastry shop: the story of Pietro Macellaro

Jun 10 2024, 16:34
From the talent and intuition of Pietro Macellaro nearly twenty years ago, the Pasticceria Agricola Cilentana was born. In the hills scented with the Mediterranean, it stands as an example of how a traditional family business can be transformed into pure innovation

Pietro Macellaro is deeply rooted in the Upper Cilento, in Piaggine, a location at the foot of Monte Cervati, surrounded by ancient beech forests, rivers, and wildlife. However, his work is known far beyond Italian borders, thanks to collaborations with renowned international chefs and the opening of outlets abroad. He was the first to envision pastry-making as the pinnacle of agricultural work, specifically that of a four-hectare farm. The business, started by his namesake grandfather in the village in the province of Salerno, was given an enormous innovative push by Pietro when he returned to his homeland after various training experiences, including earning a diploma from the Boscolo Étoile Academy in 2006. He revolutionized Cilento pastry-making by using mainly certified organic products – extra virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and aromatic herbs – self-produced on his farm. A true revolution.

Cilento agricultural pastry

Grano Carosella, water from Monte Cervati, Cilento honey: amidst the hills fragrant with the Mediterranean, Pietro Macellaro has initiated a different kind of pastry-making. A pastry that speaks of the land where it is born, of the past and the future, of indigenous grains, extra virgin olive oil, buffalo milk, forgotten fruits, and wildflowers. From the Piaggine workshop, panettones and colombe with wonderful aromas, where chocolate pairs with Cilento white figs or Aglianico, are delivered across Italy. In the heart of the Cilento National Park, the modern-designed shop, managed with his wife Raffaella Resca, has stood out from the beginning for its highly innovative pastry concept, while still anchored to the most authentic flavors of local tradition. Single portions, cakes, macarons, pralines, are displayed like jewels in refined counters.

Examples? The single portion "Fico e Foglie di Fico," with caramelized fig pulp in sulla honey, almond dacquoise, and Trapani salt, and fig leaf extract; the "Nonna Minuccia" tartlet, which encapsulates childhood memories of baked apples, with a touch of maple syrup. Macellaro, awarded Three Cakes in the Gambero Rosso's Pasticcerie d'Italia guide, has never limited himself in experimenting with combinations and forms, with pioneering inventions many years ago, like the Panbrigante. This recipe, inspired by the memory of the fights against the Savoy after the Unification of Italy, is a leavened dough enriched with honey and other local ingredients, such as figs and buffalo butter. He explains its genesis on his website: "In the family pastry tradition, I was always searching for typical local sweets, going back in time. One day my grandfather Pietro told me an anecdote from around 1830/1860, the period of the Southern Brigandage. At that time, with the leftovers that accumulated, the 'criscito' (sourdough) and honey, a product like a light leavened bread was made, which thanks to the sourdough could keep quite well. Thus, the legend was born that the Brigands were fond of it and especially, when they were on the run and had to hide, this bread was an important and nutritious food source for them."

The work on chocolate

Elegant jewel-like boxes host the award-winning pralines, wonders such as the Boero, with Cognac-soaked cherry, the Piura Buffalo Cream, or the Orchidea del Parco, with orchid-flavored marzipan. Over the years, Macellaro has won numerous gold medals at the International Chocolate Award, showcasing his mastery in chocolate creations through creativity, experience, courage, the use of quality cocoa and raw materials, partly local and self-produced (a philosophy embodied in the Biodiversity collection), and also through bean-to-bar processing. His marzipan, wild oregano, and lemon praline, wrapped in a 70% Peruvian dark chocolate shell with powdered oregano on top, is an explosion of clear and focused aromas and flavors. His creations can be purchased from the highly functional online shop, but visiting him in Piaggine is an entirely different experience.

Pasticceria Agricola Cilentana Pietro Macellaro – via Madonna delle Grazie, 28 – Piaggine (SA) -

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