If you don’t have the convenient mobility of a set of wheels, you can train it to Chiavari and visit Franco Casoni; according to what I’ve read he’ll create a stamp to your specifications. But if you really want to see something extraordinary, I suggest to seek out Pietro Picetti in Varese Ligure. His works are exquisite, and even the elite go there.
Part of the reason for a weekend in Liguria was to find the wooden stamps to make corzetti or croxetti, those flat discs of pasta that come embossed with a design. The stamps are, in my opinion, one of those “absolutely must have” kitchen tools for devoted cooks here and abroad. It so happens that sometimes my enthusiasm for an object will grow to the point where I might lose some sleep over it, but it has never gotten to a level where I turn into a complete goof. That day came when I walked into Mr. Picetti’s workshop. My exuberance for meeting the man in person suddenly exceeded the boundaries of my mouth.
“Lei ho visto su youtube!!” (I saw you on youtube), I said in excitement. To which he replied, “Lei è giapponese?” (are you japanese?) There was a brief moment where I giggled because I was aware of the great interest that japanese visitors had taken in his stamps – I just didn’t know right at that moment how recently they had been there. I tell Mr. Picetti that I’m from the US and focused my attention on the stamps that were on display.
Photo credit: Rubber Slippers In Italy
The stamps are 2 and 5/8-inches in diameter (6.5cm) with the exception of a slightly smaller one (shown in the middle) and carved from very hard woods such as beech, walnut, apple, pear and apricot. It takes about 3 hours to complete a set, and each has a different design on both pieces so that the surface of the pasta will display a unique “print” on either side. Mr. Picetti gets right to the heart of the matter when you enter, and this video shows exactly how it went when he explained the history of his handiwork and the process of using them to make croxetti at home. Pulling out a blueprint of precise sketches that looked like the head of one of those sleek racing hounds, he inquires if we know of Trussardi. We learn that Trussardi restaurant had commissioned a special request and I look it up on the net. What do I find? A post by a japanese blogger who had visited Picetti earlier in the month, and right there was a photo of the Trussardi stamp! [If using google translate just be aware that the part “while eating leopard” should really be how it was raining in the morning then how it turned to hail while they were eating. Thank you Kat for being such a great translator on the fly!]
“Mai lavare!” he warns me – never wash them – because it’ll ruin the finish of the wood. I guess that the best option would be to use a soft brush or moist cloth. As he was preparing to wrap my purchase, I asked him if he had a biglietto da visita – a business card – to which he responded with a warm smile and said that it was right there on my new stamp. You can find Mr. Picetti most likely during normal business hours, at Via Piazza Pieve 16 right behind the Red Cross building and next to a beauty treatment center. The cost? 25 euros – well worth the care and skill that goes into making them.