The Goods from Caffè La Tana
Vancouver, BC | By way of a special collaboration with Cucina Fine Foods, the world’s rarest pasta, su filindeu, is returning to La Tana for one week only. From November 14 to November 17, 2023, guests can try the “threads of god” in true Sardinian style, in broth with pecorino Romano cheese, for lunch or dinner service. Reservations are recommended.
There are only a few women, the last surviving custodians of this 300-year-old tradition, who still know how to make this intricate, labour intensive lace-like pasta, which only includes three ingredients – durum wheat semolina, water, and salt. This batch was made exclusively for La Tana by Raffaella Marongiu Selis of Nuoro, Sardinia.
“Su filindeu is not only an Italian culinary treasure, but a key piece of Sardinia heritage that is at risk of extinction, and we feel honoured to have the privilege to continue sharing it with our guests, especially since it is usually not available outside of Nuoro,” says Paul Grunberg, co-founder of Banda Volpi, the gang behind folkloric neighbourhood spots Savio Volpe, La Tana, and Pepino’s. “The texture is very unique, silky, and comforting when enjoyed in broth and pecorino cheese – the traditional way it is prepared.”
Culinary director Phil Scarfone and head chef Vish Mayekar are cooking su filindeu in a rich lamb broth that takes over 24 hours and two days to prepare. When the dish is ordered, the fragile sheets of su filindeau are added to the warm broth to gently soften, topped with freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese and finished with Volpi extra virgin olive oil right before it hits the table.
The process of creating su filindeu can take months and entails dough that is stretched vigorously and repeatedly, until it forms diaphanous thread-like filaments. It is then folded into groups of four until 256 threads are obtained. These are wound in layers over a round frame made of woven asphodel leaves, a plant commonly used in traditional Sardinian basketry. The resulting lattice work pasta is left to dry in the sun.
Traditionally it is served by the inhabitants of San Francesco di Lula to the approximately 1,500 pilgrims that come to Sardinia every year in October to walk the 32 kilometres that separate Nuoro from the Sanctuary of San Francesco di Lula to celebrate the feast of St. Francis.
“We thank Barbara Adly and Pietro Canali of Cucina Fine Foods for helping us bring su filindeu to Canada,” adds Grunberg. “At Banda Volpi, our mission is to authentically showcase Italian cuisine to our guests, and connecting people with the rare opportunity to experience historic Italian culinary creations is an integral part of it all.”
Guests can now make reservations to try limited portions of su filindeu at La Tana online. Walk-ins are always welcome.