23-12-2017 by Freddie del Curatolo
Having so much Africa inside and having lived it since childhood, but at the same time feeling deeply Italian. Knowing the history and folds of love of this country, but believing in people and continue to dispense a natural optimism and a predisposition to encounter and beauty of things.
He is a compatriot to know and to take as an example, Gianpaolo Zappa.
Brescian of Rovato, in Kenya since childhood, between the Rift Valley, Mombasa and Nairobi, and today manager of one of the most appreciated Italian restaurants in the capital,"La Cascina", inside the shopping center "The Hub" of Karen, in the green hills of Africa that inspired the Blixen for "My Africa".
The story of the Zappa family is another novel that would be nice to read, but just sit down and share a good glass with the "oste" of the Cascina to enjoy fantastic stories and anecdotes of an epic.
Gianpaolo's parents moved to Kenya in the 1950s and found a land full of contradictions to welcome them,"where everything was missing but there was no need for anything".
The fertile valleys of Nanyuki and the slopes of Mount Kenya called only for cultivation, opened the scent of coffee and tea, gave the sweetness of fruit trees and the necessary nourishment of wheat.
Mine came from the poverty of the immediate post-war period - says Zappa - and while they discovered Nanyuki with his rows of huts and shacks, and the "far west" of the surroundings of Nairobi, they were amazed that thanks to the English found things that you dreamt of in Italy ".
The golden years of the British Empire were, however, at sunset and the revolt of the Mau Mau forced the Zappa family to even hard and dangerous moments, with a brief return to Italy.
I was born in Italy - says the restaurateur - but I already had Kenya in destiny. My family soon decided to return to the continent to which they had been linked and which was waiting for them to begin again.
This is how Gianpaolo's adventure also began, who for passion and increasing professionalism has approached the world of catering. For years he was the soul with partner Gianni Sganzerla, founder of the famous restaurant "La Veranda" in Nyali, also of "Eataly" and then returned to "his" Rift Valley, for a new bet, with the same Gianni and his wife Veronica Moresco.
A bet that judging by the influx, customer reviews and the quality that we ourselves were lucky enough to evaluate, has already been won.
La Cascina is a cross-section of specialties and Italian food and wine creativity in one of the symbols of Nairobi growing and developing - explains the Italian resident - in Nairobi pioneers such as Gaetano Ruffo de "La Trattoria" many years ago opened the way and made the art of eating well known to Kenyans as well, of which Italy is a "healthy bearer" all over the world. Since then, many activities have been opened and the import of even the most important products has increased ".
La Cascina has the merit of proposing both things: to enhance the quality of the raw materials of this country, such as meat, fish and vegetables, but also to offer a panorama of those foods that can only come from our peninsula, such as cold cuts, cheeses and of course wines.
In addition to relying on those who care - says Zappa - we ourselves periodically deliver fresh produce by air, selecting and choosing Italian companies that become our "allies" in providing excellent quality and create various menus with novelties and seasonal first courses. This is the case with wine, of which Kenyans are first and foremost becoming excellent connoisseurs.
For those who live in Nairobi, a jump to the Cascina is a must, for those who pass or spend a few days on holiday, a dive into the best culinary tradition of our home, with the pleasure of being able to chat about Africa and life with a "oste" really special, of those who make us proud to be part of the community of Italians in Kenya.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
by Freddie del Curatolo
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