This history begins in the postwar period, almost ‘on a mule’, when maternal grandparents, and in particular current owners’ grandmother, went to sell sardines with a two-wheeled vehicle pulled by a horse in those mountains where local fishermen were not able to arrive.
The fish was not always completely sold and so, in order to avoid losing the remnants, it was placed in wooden containers, the so called 'tazzalori' in the local dialect, and salted, that is to say placed in a container in layers of fish and salt. This way, the fish, once it had reached its optimal level of ripeness, was sold throughout the year, in markets and in the small grocery shop already owned by grandparents’ current owners.
A small workshop
Thanks to those ancestors, to their knowledge, passed on and welcomed by the new generation, in 1999 the small family workshop became an industry: 'Calabraittica', now branded 'Oroazzurro'. It maintains the tradition of the past, developed and mechanized by the innovations offered by the technology. This is an artisan industry which produces salted anchovies and sardines, with 24 month ageing – sardines, fillets, small fish, stockfish, and sauces. Calabriattica is located midway between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas. It was born from a thirty-year experience of a small family business. Its mission consists in preserving the fish of the Calabrian coast, always using traditional methods and secrets of a small artisan workshop.
Calabraittica is present in Italy and abroad, in Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and Australia, in specialty stores, delicatessens, and large-scale retail trade. It rigorously operates with HACCP, adopting all the procedures and directions required by IFS standard and it is in possession of the ICEA certification for organic products.
Catch of fish, mainly purchased from the Calabrian coast, but also in the Adriatic and Tuscan Tyrrhenian Sea, is transformed in a short time (24/36 hours at most). Mimmo and Felice Alvaro, the owners, explain: «Our Company’s goal consists in maintaining the traditional methods and especially the short chain, which sets us apart as for the results of our product».
Among the company's specialties there are whole anchovies, proposed in a spicy version with hot pepper, with oregano, Mediterranean way, with sun-dried tomatoes and oregano; ‘Delizia di Alici’: boned anchovies, cooked with tomato pulp in extra virgin olive oil; ‘Filetto Reale’, obtained from boned anchovies, pressed and kept for at least 24 months in organic extra virgin olive oil with Calabrian hot pepper; ‘Colatura di alici' and sauce with anchovies, with a high percentage of fish, just like the homemade product.
The other queen of the Mediterranean is the sardine, rich in omega 3. It is a poor fish, but rich in flavour, which is also preserved in oil. It becomes more appetizing thanks to the addition of either hot pepper or oregano.
Calabriaittica pays careful attention to quality and detail, transparent even in packaging, with its products packaged in glass jars or trays, because «we are proud to display a quality which our consumer see first and then perceive it», says Mr. Mimmo with a touch of pride.
This company adopts so much care, so much attention, and such little precious touches as the processing of fresh product carried out within a few hours after fishing, processing and packaging phases, guaranteed by a rigorous system of controls. From all these the line ‘Biancomangiare delizioso’ are born: ice fish, onion, parsley; ‘Biancomangiare piccante’, ‘Biancomangiare capriccioso’ prepared with ice fish, hot pepper, onion, wine vinegar; ‘Orto in mare piccante’: anchovies in extra virgin olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, and hot pepper; ‘Orto in Mare Mediterraneo’: anchovies in extra virgin olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, sea salt, oregano; ‘Gran Filetto calabrese’: a rustic course prepared with anchovies and IGP Calabrian red onion.