Olive Oil biscuits from Liguria: the story of Pandolio
A taste of lightness inspired by ancient Ligurian recipes
It is a story typical of Liguria, which learnt to make something good from something that was usually thrown away or rejected.
We are in the west, in the province of Imperia, at San Bartolomeo al Mare, the land of olive mills and olive groves where a delicate oil with low acidity is produced. Here all the olives are taggiasca olives.
Angelo was still a young boy, son of Flavio, a well-known butcher, when he went to visit his uncle a pastry chef. One day he saw him collect the deposits of olive oil. Instead of throwing it away as his uncle usually did he began to mix it with flour, sugar and a little bit of Vermouth wine before putting the dough in the oven.
The first meeting with the olive-oil biscuit Stroscia
That cake which looked like a big biscuit was called, Stroscia, because “strosciare” in Ligurian dialect means to break, to snap. It is an old name full of history, tales and traditions. You break Stroscia with your hands and share it out with others because you can do everything you need to do with your hands, because with your hands you can share everything you have. It is a gesture of communion. Angelo is captivated by scents, new flavours, by unusual fragrances and by the stories told to him by his uncle Luigi. “ If I like it so much then so will many others”.
And so the search began to find the perfect flavour capable of preserving the element of surprise when you try something new without being attacked by the strong flavour of the oil. Instead of using the oil deposited in the tanks which is dark and dense, he chose to use the good quality olive oil which is in no shortage in these parts, he substituted the Vermouth with white wine and chose a flour which would give the dough the perfect crispness.
So Pandolio was born and the idea of founding a company which would revive Ligurian tradition, guard it, renew it and take it all around the world.
Local authenticity of biscuits and pastries
And then there is the sea of San Bartolomeo, right in front of his laboratory, where you can go to shelter fishing and walking on the rocks and a few kilometres away his corner of paradise, Cervo, one of the most beautiful old towns in Italy.
“ I often come here, I bring the people I care about. Here I feel in harmony with the landscape, the sea, the rocks, the hills with the paths of the Natural Park of Ciapà, the little squares and the church of Corallini because at one time they worked the coral herel. I need to come here to re-charge, to get new ideas and smile at the luck of doing a wonderful job in such an extraordinary landscape”.
All the ingredients of the biscuit fit onto a single line
Pandolio today is a company in continuous creative evolution.
“ Quality for us is always our starting point. All our ingredients, side by side, fill up only one line of our packaging, you don’t need to start a new line not even once. Renewing tradition means first of all respecting the memory of taste. For this reason we only use the highest quality raw material, we only package hand made products by hand and we bake the them using traditional methods”.
For Angelo these three pillars do not only represent a professional and business code of ethics but define also his personal philosophy of life. Next to the Stroscia come the Pandolietti biscuits ( as well as the classic ones, you can taste the lemon ones, hazelnut, chocolate and yoghurt), the Sfogliatine ( the only ones made with butter), the Savoury Pandolietti ( onion, cheese and rosmary) and the Pan del Pescatore another historical product, typical of the Ligurian tradition which Angelo decided to re-propose. With his hands.