October 8, 2006

la Mia Famiglia

The Mafia ( some say from MiA FamiglIA my family) is real.

Not always in the shoot 'em up way pictured in television or in the Godfather films, but often as the only way to get something done it Italy. With all the red tape, often a word to the correct person with connections is the only way to get something done.

I think we all create our own mafia... of friends to make life easy.

But the Bad Mafia, drug dealing, payoffs, called pizzo, and prostitution... also exists.

When caught and taken to jail now, the Italian government is requisitioning the land.. and there is now a new line of food products from the land.

The product line is called LIBERA TERRA, from the lands freed from the mafia.
Above is the tomato sauce, they also produce flour, pasta and beans.
I find these products at the local COOP grocery store.

I would assume that most of the land is in the south of Italy.

The pasta is made in a factory in Corleone, ( sound familiar?) that has made pasta since the 1800's and is still made in the slow way, 40 hours drying time. This creates a wonderful chewy pasta, hard to overcook and the sauce clings to it as it is extruded through brass dies, which leave a rough edge to the outside of the pasta.

Life is made up of lot's of little things.... that add up!


  1. The problem for me is that they are charging about 5 centesimi per drying hour! Why, if they want this to be successful, are they making it so expensive?
    I like Sette Ducati, a pasta being made from the attempts at re-engineering the original pasta grain that became extinct in WWI, and which is priced low while they wrk on it. Unfortunately the Coop dropped it and replaced it with gundge pasta.

  2. here I have quite a choice at the COOP.
    local tuscan pasta, probably like yours, made from a grain in Mugello which is organic, the Libero Terra pasta and the normal Dececco, Buitoni etc...as well as some smaller artisan pasta companies.

  3. Judith, the price for this pasta is not too much when you se the whole of the Libera activities that get done also thanks to the products they sell. Essentially, when you buy Terra Libera products you are not just puchasing pasta, you are controbuting to a LOT of activities against mafia and drug dealing. Plus there is a scale economy issue: they have just a slallish production, which means that each bag of pasta produced costs more than, say, Barilla's. It's like purchasing the fair trade products: you contribute to a fairer economy and, at the same time, support small producers, but this does have a price. if they cut the prices to be even with the mass market, they would have to pay the workers the same as the big producers and importers, that is next to nothing, and cut on all of the side projects they work on. Would the reduced price be worth this? I believe not. ^_^

  4. Do they sell the pasta sauce in the US? I hear it's to die for.

    (ba dum ching)

  5. That's just genius. It's such a positive move. If it was sold here in the UK I'd happily pay a 'fairer, happier world' premium for it.