i started off this series with interviewing my local butcher, bespoke, since sustainable meat has been one of the biggest changes in the way i cook in the last year. next up, i wanted you all to get to know a little more about my favourite italian bakery in the city – forno cultura. forno cultura is an alternative baking space by owner andrea mastrandre, a third generaation baker. i’ve loved everything about their bare bones shop on king west since they opened and i can never walk by without stopping in and picking up a little treat or two. i love the smell of sugar and anise that hugs you as you walk into the warmly lit space, the always friendly staff, and the taste of recipes that you can tell go back for generations. the shelves are lined with cans of imported tomatoes, oils and balsamic vinegar, and cured sausage in oil (my fav) and there are tons of different kinds of breads, more cookies than you can count, and panini and pizza that rival sud forno.
read on for more about forno’s philosophy!
aleshia: tell me about why you opened forno cultura?
andrea: e opened forno cultura to bring the finest of italian traditions in baking and craft as well as ingredients to the community. we believe that there is a need for quality and that bakeries can be an important part of the community.
ap: what is the one lesson you’ve learned or taken away from owning alimento & then forno?
am: the lesson is that integrity and transparency are the most important qualities when you are dealing with food. to have the best ingredients to start with and to add craftsmanship and artisanal method to production.
ap: what is the most important philosophy forno adheres to – is it quality ingredients, tradition, etc?
am: both quality ingredients as the basis, tradition as the core or the root and hand made as the pride.
ap: what is your favorite thing to have your nonno / nona make & what is your favourite thing to make (both cooked meal and baked good!)
am: loved my nonna’s hand made pasta and i love to bake bread, of course and to do whole roasts, whether lamb, chicken, fish.
ap: if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
am: focaccia (the barese style)