Challenge of the culurgiones in Barcelona to beat the crisis

The adventure of three Sardinian chefs: "Without work, but we have not given up"
da sinistra alessandro spano robert lecis e michele puggioni (l unione sarda)
Da sinistra: Alessandro Spano, Robert Lecis e Michele Puggioni (L'Unione Sarda)

The recipe for facing an unexpected lockdown without work - therefore without money - about 600 kilometers from home, for Michele Puggioni (from Quartu Sant'Elena, 29), Robert Lecis (25 years from Villacidro) and Alessandro Spano (34 years of Solanas di Oristano), Sardinian chefs who emigrated to Barcelona, is that of the culurgiones . "We found ourselves without work and without the possibility of finding another one, but we did not give up: we started a small production of fresh pasta, where the protagonists are culurgiones", say the three pasta makers. But the typical flavor of the most famous Sardinian stuffed pasta, in Catalan land, did not go unnoticed: «we receive so many requests that we had to stop advertising».

"Semola y agua"

The project was born in the Catalan capital during the first lockdown in March. "Shortly before the pandemic, all three of us had decided to leave our jobs and deliver some resumes around: we were aiming high, not knowing what to expect." The dream of a more satisfying occupation was therefore brutally crushed by the spread of the coronavirus and the consequent need for business closure and isolation. Immediately the idea of making up for the lack of work - and money - by producing and selling culurgiones: "The intention was only to raise some money to go on," explains Robert Lecis, 25 years old from Villacidro. "The most massive production started a few months later, in September, when, after a broader word of mouth, we noticed that the Catalans' response to our culurgiones was more than positive".

In the barrio and on social networks

Hence the need to first give a name to the business (on social media @semolayagua, or semolina and water) and then an appropriate place. "An acquaintance owner of Casa Oliver, a gastronomy of typical Catalan and Italian products, became interested in the project and gave us a space in his laboratory to make and sell our fresh pasta: now in the barrio (ed.) We are the joy of many Sardinian emigrants and, obviously, also Catalans ».

Culurgiones mania

Originally born as a small, unpretentious plan B, "Semola y agua" instead soon became a useful use to "start dreaming again". "After the closure of the premises and the consequent absence of job advertisements in the catering sector, the discouragement was enormous", continues Robert Lecis, who adds: "I was seriously thinking of leaving, but then, step by step, we managed to turning a situation that from being very heavy, has become increasingly rewarding ».

The success

From a tiny production for a few close friends, the three chefs have come to make about fifteen kilos of fresh pasta a day. "The ingredients we use are fresh and above all genuine - explain the cooks - we import pecorino directly from Sardinia". In recent weeks, orders have boomed: "We had to stop advertising", explain the pasta makers, who conclude: "But blocking everything at the moment is impossible: those who try culurgiones never come back".

Lisa Ferreli


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