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“Lu sule, lu mare, lu ientu”, greetings from Switzerland

“Lu sule, lu mare, lu ientu” (the sun, the sea, the wind) – these are my roots. Salento beats in my heart, and I’m proud to have inherited the culture of my grandparents and parents along my journey.
Although I’ve lived in Switzerland since childhood, I’ve learned the essence and culture of Salento from my grandparents, who reside there, and my parents. My grandparents migrated to Switzerland long ago to work and support their families. However, they have lived in Puglia again, near Castro, for as long as I can remember.
The phrase “lu sule, lu mare, lu ientu” also symbolizes my outlook on life, which my grandparents instilled in me through the simplest of things. It represents the simplicity and beauty of nature, which, in my opinion, are characteristic of the people of Salento. This phrase describes the scenic beauty of the region and emphasizes the appreciation for the natural elements that shape life and culture in this area.

In my kitchen, I strive to keep this connection to my homeland alive. The dishes of my grandparents and parents are not just a feast for the palate but also a way to bring the traditions and way of life of Salento here. Standing in the kitchen with my grandparents, preparing polpette, cozze, orecchiette, and friselle, I was the happiest person. Food, for me, is a moment of happiness, and I want to share this feeling with you. It doesn’t take much to feel love and happiness – often, it’s the little things in life that fulfill us the most.

My father spent his childhood between Italy and Switzerland, he went to school there and here, lived with his Nonna and one day, he had to make a decision about what was best for the future. Should he stay with his Nonna in Puglia or should he go to Switzerland, where his parents had to work. Those were definitely other times.. Personally, I find that decision extremely difficult, and I’m grateful to my parents for showing us Italianità every day. At home, we always listen to pizzica, drink some good wine, and eat as my nonnas taught us. The older I get, the more I understand that life is about having a panoramic view and appreciating the beauty of small things. Often, they are right outside the door – we just need to open our eyes – when you enter the garden and smell mint, basil, and lemons. These are my memories of my holidays in Italy. My grandfather (who unfortunately passed away last year) always used to bring us ice cream on his moped, even in over 40-degree heat. And although it was half melted when he came back, what mattered was the look he had when he saw us laughing getting the ice cream. These are the true moments that make food a celebration for me. In this case, the ice cream was secondary. That feeling I had, seeing his eyes is exactly what I want to pass on to others. In the future, I plan to spend a few months in Puglia and who knows, maybe I’ll even get to cook for others in the campagna someday. It’s a dream I hold dear, to immerse myself in the land of my ancestors, to breathe in the scents of home, and to share the flavors and traditions that haveshaped me with others.

 

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