In collaboration with the Greek National Tourism Board, I traveled to Corfu, Greece for the 2nd Annual Corfiot Food and Wine Festival and wrote an article for the James Beard award-winning gourmet food magazine SAVEUR.
Even among talented chefs, there is shared nostalgia over pastitsada, as many families grew up eating it as their version of a Sunday roast; every Corfiot housewife has their own special twist. Annie Nounessi-Vassiliou, a lifelong Corfiot who later earned the nickname “Signora Bigoli” for the long-stranded Venetian pasta used in the dish, includes around 10 different spices in her recipe, stewing the mixture for hours. Cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves—all spices that the Venetians obtained from the Levantines and were of the highest value during the spice trade—mingle with tomatoes, red chile pepper, and red wine to form a surprising, warming dish that can perfume the whole house. The aromas are so potent, so lingering, that Signora Bigoli has a saying: “If your pastitsada is really good, you’ll have to change your bra.”-Soleil Roth, How A Greek Island Became Known for it’s Italian Meat Sauce