Classical guitarist Claudio Piastra: food is music too
Dress your kitchen
Appreciated all over the world, Claudio has recorded around twenty albums for Fonit Cetra, Europa Musica, Koch International, Mondo Musica, Warner Fonit, Tempus and Le Chant de Linos, and has received many rave reviews. The musician has also reviewed and edited an impressive 45 books for publishers such as Carish, Mnemes, Suvini Zerboni and Berbén.
Originally from Parma, Claudio has performed over a thousand concerts at international festivals and events, both as a soloist and with some of the music world’s most prestigious orchestras, conductors and musicians. He has appeared on numerous television programmes and has been featured on radio many times, often as a solo artist.
A Professor at the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “Achille Peri” in Reggio Emilia, he is invited to hold masterclasses all over Italy and beyond, from Canada to France, Austria to Brazil, Uruguay to Spain. Since 2011 he has been artistic director of the renowned Accademia di Belle Arti Tadini in Lovere (Bergamo).
What do you think, Claudio, when entering your kitchen?
“The kitchen is by far my favourite room in the house, a place I use in many different ways. I adore eating and even practising in the kitchen; I’ll often settle down there with my guitar. I’m not sure why, but I always feel I concentrate better. Above all I associate it with being home: I travel a lot, and I often stay in hotels. They might have bedrooms, bathrooms, sitting rooms and other places, but there’s never a kitchen – you’ll only find one at home.”
What dish best represents your life and why?
“I was born into a family of restaurateurs in Parma, so obviously it has to be “anolini” pasta (which some people call cappelletti). There are other foods I love, but I associate anolini with cherished memories. At Christmas they take me back to when I was young, and the house would be filled for days with the delicious smell of stracotto (slow-cooked meat). I’d help my mother make the anolini using fresh pasta (I’d always sneak a few before they were cooked); I remember the meat broth, all the magical traditions…”
What wine gets your heart beating?
“I don’t drink much, just a little Lambrusco, but my heart beats for wines from Piedmont, particularly Ghemme, Fara and Sizzano. My mother’s family comes from Piedmont, and I spent wonderful summers in the area as a child. I remember spending afternoons trailing round after my father and my uncle as they went from winery to winery on the hunt for bottles. I’ve still got some of them, which happen to be vintages: a ’47 Barolo, a ’56 Barbaresco and, especially, a few bottles of ’64 Fara (the year I was born, strangely enough).”
What is the top in the kitchen, according to you?
“The worktop? But joking apart, to me the top thing of all is being able to share precious family time, when we all sit around the table with no formalities. It doesn’t matter at all what we’re eating. The dining room is different from the kitchen: there’s something more formal, almost distant, about it” (to be continued).