I Fugali. Almonds and traditions in the heart of Avola, Sicily.
I Fugali is a small patisserie hidden in the heart of Avola, South-East corner of Sicily. Great grandfather, Paolo Fugali, founded the company back in 1928, and they have been making almond products ever since. Now Rossella, Paolo’s great granddaughter looks after the company and her father Paolo, agreed to share a few secrets on the delicious almond milk we recently added to our range.
Tell us something we don’t know about almond milk?
It is quite difficult to stabilise it. Usually, it’ll go off within 2-3 days, even if stored in the fridge.
How did you manage to stabilise it? Bianco di Mandorla has a 12 months expiry date.
After a year and a half, hundreds of trials and error, we managed to stabilise the process. In order to achieve this, we referred back to old methods and traditions.
Tell us more!
My grandmother used to make the almond granita, every morning. Then grandpa and his two sons, Salvatore and Giovanni, went on to sell it in the streets of our town. Of course, this was before we all had a fridge.
My grandma bought almonds still in their shells, crushed them, took the fruit inside and peeled them with hot water.
The peeled almonds were placed under the sun to dry, and with a mortar crushed into a paste. This was then placed into a wet muslin cloth, and squeezed to extract the milk. This was repeated multiple times until the paste had no more flavour.
She added sugar, and the milk placed in a bowl within a larger container. Ice and rock salt were placed between the two bowls, and voilà: granita was made!
Fascinating! how much of that original process are you still applying today?
We still use a traditional approach, and for us quality is paramount. Of course we use machines to crush the almonds, but with the original process very much in mind. In a way, it’s our little secret.
Is your method standard in the industry?
No, actually it’s not. Many products out there are not stable, the water and almonds separates and often you need to shake the liquid for 30 minutes, before drinking it. Also, shelf life is 10-15 days. We’re the only company in the world to do this, without adding any preservatives, and the almond taste it doesn’t get any more real or natural than that.
What is next?
We are working to bottle the almond milk sugar free, which is a lot harder to achieve. New machineries as well to satisfy the requests from the market. We’re a small reality, but our product deserve to reaches customers all over the world.