Diego and Patrizia were 60 years old when, after having (almost) travelled the whole world, they decided to leave Milan and Palermo to move to Cipampini, one of the 42 towns that surround Petralia Soprana, in the Parco della Madonie.
Diego is a former journalist who wrote for huge magazines, and Patrizia is an architect. They went there off the back of some advice, then everything unfurled naturally, as if it had been written somewhere that in 2007, they would buy that cottage right here: their current restaurant A Fuoco Lento.
Up until that point, they had only cooked for themselves, at home, out of passion. Then, the idea of a slow-cooking establishment – a true, real hearth where dishes can be eaten at one’s own pace, in an environment steeped in culture and music (there is no shortage of piano).
Open 24/7, Diego and Patrizia only cook whatever there is for whomever there is, with a menu that changes daily depending on the local produce. It is not just this; since they try and take their dishes on all their travels too, the important thing is to make them with high-quality dishes. And it is precisely starting from the raw materials that their cooking lessons starts, with a visit to the town’s manufacturers and around the fields to find what Diego will then teach you to prepare. Other than your experience in the field, this cook’s greatest lesson is not so much any old cooking class, as the untameable creativity that succumbs to all his dishes. One such example is his (real) volcano of pasta alla norma, there to “erupt” how much cooking is, for him, a game, more than just a passion. It is a game, however, that never sacrifices a careful work of historical reconstruction of local food and traditional Madonite recipes that are at risk of extinction, such as the cutlet of borage. All this research will soon be turned into a book that Patrizia is writing on Diego’s discoveries and original inventions, “The magical, enchanted recipes of Cipampini” (“Le magiche ricette fatate di Cipampini”).
Finally, everything is eaten in front of the fire or in the dehors depending on the season, this “piece of Sicily on the table”, as they call it; a piece that would not have been possible if these two wanderers, one day, had not stopped here, right in that cottage there.