Filled with flavour and family
Pasta Di Porto is a labour of love, passion and preservation of a cultural food journey.
She describes it as “just a small family business”, but Domenica Fedele, co-owner of Pasta Di Porto with Peter Toth, has shown over the past decade just how big their vision is and their commitment and talent for beautiful produce.
Pasta Di Porto (translating to ‘pasta by the port’) specialises in gourmet filled ravioli, fresh pasta and a range of artisan home-made products. Since launching their Port Stephens-based pasta business in late 2009, Domenica and Peter have grown from humble beginnings at food markets, to a commercial kitchen trailer, and now to a busy permanent retail store in Anna Bay, plus selected stockists all the way up to Brisbane.
Domenica’s rich Italian cultural heritage is the inspiration behind the enterprise and is the constant source of ideas and influence for her range of recipes, flavours and products. “My passion is to continue and preserve what I grew up with,” Domenica said. “Food was such an important part of our life. My family always had a vegetable garden. Meals based on seasonal ingredients was how we grew up.”
Her parents came from Reggio Calabria, a small town in Southern Italy, and food was in her blood from an early age. Like many Italian families, cooking was intuitive and never really followed a recipe, a skill that Domenica has kept up to this day, instead relying on her taste and her instinct to create winning
“I never recall my mother looking at a recipe book. I’m pretty much the same. I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of ideas, but I never go by a recipe,” she said. Her very first ravioli filling was roast pumpkin, garlic, basil and aged parmesan. Her most recent filling – prosciutto, provolone and marinated fig – came from the childhood delight of wrapping a piece of prosciutto around a fresh fig.
It’s this authenticity and knowledge of flavour that has seen Pasta Di Porto win multiple awards, year after year, at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show. Their first foray into the competition was in 2010, winning seven bronze medals, including for her debut pumpkin filling. In 2012, the humble pumpkin was awarded a gold medal and they were named show champions. In an astonishing achievement, Pasta Di Porto has been crowned champions in 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2019.
Read more in the Winter issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.
By Judith Whitfield, photos courtesy of Pasta Di Porto