The story behind our Colatura:
I take you to the coastal town of Palinuro, where we knock on the door of the atelier of Aura. We meet Luca in his father's old workshop. Here he experiences and preserves his two great loves: the sea and the earth.
Influenced by his fathers love for the rural hinterland and his mothers descending from a fisherman's family he started Aura in 2015. Luca, who was born at the end of the seventies in Cilento, grew up fishing and walking the hills in search of wild asparagus and mushrooms. His passion for environmental and sustainability issues always followed him until he decided to make it his lives work.
He carefully selects the most delicate fish, fruit and vegetables from the Cilento National park and Marine Protected Area. It is the place that inspired the famous 'Mediterranean diet'.
Today he is best known for his carefully selected tuna, Albacore, bluefin tuna and palamita. Luca catches them all in the Cilento sea and cooks them as tradition dictates. Yet, it was not the tuna that caught my attention. It was his menaica anchovies, fished off the Cilento coast with "menaica" nets. When night falls, the fishermen bring out their boats and spread the nets to block the anchovies' path. The size of the holes in the nets means that only the biggest fish can be caught. Is your mouth watering already? I am too. 🤤
Colatura di Alici di Menaica
Colatura di Alici is probably the most unique product I offer in my mercato. Colatura is the closest equivalent to Asian fish sauce. It comes from what was once know as Roman garum, a mix of fermented fish guts and salt. It's a condiment with ancient roots that date back to even BC. It was a staple of Roman cuisine and remains were found in Spain, Portugal and northern Africa.
When the Roman Empire collapsed, it disappeared except in some tiny villages in southwest Italy.
The best colatura today comes from the Cilento area, where fisherman still honour tradition by drawing off the liquid given off by salting anchovies—a concentration of umami to add to any dish.
It is more complex and less fishy than Asian-style fish sauce. I use fish sauce frequently in my cooking, not to add a fish flavour, but to make the dish more savoury. Add a teaspoon of colatura to your cacio e pepe, tomato sauce, sauteed greens, potato salad or any fish dish or just anything that needs this kick!
Please don't put your colatura in the fridge before opening but give it a prominent place in your pantry.
Do you want to treat yourself to a dose of colatura di alici? Order them here.