If you ever find yourself passing through Sardinia around October 4th, take our advice and join in the 33km pilgrimage from the town of Nuoro to the village of Lula. Maybe you’ll be inclined towards celebrating the Feast of San Francesco with the rest of the pilgrims, but that’s not the real reason we’re encouraging readers to take the lengthy walk. A less spiritual, more physical motive has piqued our interest: at the end of the pilgrimage, each traveller is rewarded with a bowl of su filindeu – the rarest pasta in Italy.
With a name that means “threads of god”, su filindeu is a dish of the most divine order. For 300 years, the women of Paola Abraini’s family have passed the recipe down to each other, and now there are only three women in the world who can make it.
Considered fiendishly difficult even by those proficient in past making –and apparently impossible for learners trying their hand – su filindeu is only made from three ingredients: semolina wheat, salt and water. But, like so many things, the process is where the magic happens.
Jamie Oliver tried and failed. Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food International, has failed. Barilla pasta sent some goons to Abraini’s house to watch her work and then program a machine to replicate her method – and the machine failed. Even Abraini’s niece and sister-in-law, the only two other people who have ever succeeded in making su filindeu, refrain from trying anymore, because it is so labour intensive.
So with only one person actually bothering to make su filindeu, how will this sacred spaghetti going to escape extinction? Thankfully, Abraini is abandoning the secrecy that once surrounded her family’s famous dish, and doing everything she can to enlist pupils. So maybe put your hand up for a lesson next time you’re in town.
Via BBC Travel