It is early morning as Emmanuele wakes up his son Filippo. They are on a mission. They need to visit some farmers nearby. Filippo needs to get some important ingredients for his mother Michela. She is a chef and together with Emmanuele run a cute restaurant in Nadur called Osteria Scottadito.
Emmanuele and Filippo drive down to Wied ta’ Grejgel (Grejgel Valley). It is the valley which leads to Daħlet Qorrot, a semi-rocky cove popular with the locals. They meet up with Salvo. He has a piece of land which currently has a sizable zucchini and marrow crop. Filippo knows what he is looking for. It is not the zucchini itself. What he wants is to pick the pretty orange zucchini flowers.
Emmanuele and Filippo pick the zucchini flowers for a delicacy they like to prepare at their restaurant – fried zucchini flowers. It is very difficult to source zucchini flowers because they are very perishable. They wilt very quickly and the bright orange starts to fade to an unpleasant yellow. Picking and cooking the flowers on the same day bring out the best result.
Nadur – a place of all seasons
Nadur is a very interesting village. Better know for the annual Carnival in the winter, it is also the home of popular beaches namely Ramla, San Blas and Daħlet Qorrot. A cosmopolitan village where several of the locals once emigrated and returned back from the USA and Canada. Also a growing number of European expats are falling in love with the place they now call their home.
The village has an active farming community thanks to the several valleys that surround the village which is situated at the hill top. The valleys are full of agricultural activity. An abundance of fruit trees, seasonal crops, and little groups of livestock. This is the beauty of Gozo, the island of the three hills.
Making Gozo their home
Emmanuele and Michela are Italian and hail from the seaside villages of Pesaro and Fano, respectively. Gozo too has become their natural home. Their son Filippo was born in Gozo. A living example that Gozo truly is the island of love and honey.
After opening Osteria Scottadito in Nadur, Emmanuele and Michela have built up an effective network with the local farmers. Sourcing local is important. Even more, strengthening their relationship with the people of Nadur is a priority. Putting farm-to-fork practices into action.
Strengthening their relationship with the people of Nadur is a priority.
The zucchini flower is a great example how local businesses collaborate with the rural farming community to get first priority of their produce. Something like a pretty zucchini flower would normally just end up with the zucchini and chopped off at the farmers’ market because by then it would be disfigured and become a distraction for retailing the actual zucchini.
Strangely enough the frying of the zucchini flower was a seasonal street food found outside farmers markets in Italy, France and Greece. Something as inexpensive yet delicate as a plant’s flower, transformed into a bright and crispy golden nugget.
Fried zucchini flowers have become a popular and well-known delicacy thanks to chefs in Italy. They have the renown mantle but one can also find traces in Southern French cooking as well as in parts of Greece.
The zucchini flower are stuffed, battered and fried to make a delicious savoury treat. Perfect to start a meal amongst friends. Perfect to roll out a feast.