The opportunity arises for an enterprising winegrower who has become a chef

The Nelson Farmers Market is alive and well in its new location next to the Halifax Street Library. In fact, the site seems specially designed for this large market.

There’s plenty of space, so the stalls are a bit bigger, which is great for social distancing, and there’s enough room for more traders to join in the fun.

One of these new traders is What? Gnocchi! The food produced by Enrico Doro, born in Italy, is simply delicious. When done right, gnocchi are heavenly little cloud-like pillows that simply melt in your mouth and carry the flavor perfectly.

There are many secrets to making the perfect Italian gnocchi made with potatoes and flour, but sauces are just as important when it comes to flavor, and Enrico certainly knows how to do both.

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Doro worked all over the world as a winemaker, before settling in Nelson and using his grandmother's gnocchi recipe to start a new business.

Neil hodgson

Doro worked all over the world as a winemaker, before settling in Nelson and using his grandmother’s gnocchi recipe to start a new business.

I sat down with him last week to discuss his business, imagine my joy when I found out that he is a winemaker by trade and that he worked in Italy for 10 years before deciding to travel the world following the harvest seasons with his partner Chiara.

“We have known each other since the age of 14 and we lived together for three years in Italy before deciding to travel together. It is easy for a winegrower to travel and find work in different regions following the harvest seasons.

“We started by going to South Africa to work for a producer near Stellenbosch, then we traveled to South Africa for a while before going to Madagascar and then returning to Italy for a month. After that we went to Sonoma Valley in California before moving to New Zealand where I worked with Villa Maria in Marlborough.

It arrived at the same time as Covid in 2020 and therefore went through the first lockdown under rather unusual circumstances.

“We were living in an RV in the basement during the lockdown and this was my first time working 12 hour shifts at night. I was well outside my comfort zone, but it was good because the group that was created in the cellar supported each other. It was amazing to live, work and eat together.

“There were loads of motorhomes for the workers and a container kitchen with a chef for us. “

After this harvest in Marlborough, he spent the winter in Nelson with Chiara, trying to find a job: “I worked as a pizzaiolo at Eddyline for a few months, while I waited for an opportunity to work in the brewery as a newcomer. challenge. “

Then he got the opportunity to work with McCashin’s on the canning line and he worked his way up the ranks as he learned different roles.

Gnocchi are cooked when they float on the surface of slightly boiling water.

Neil hodgson

Gnocchi are cooked when they float on the surface of slightly boiling water.

“Before we started at Eddyline we went to Club Italia for pizza night and a lady introduced us to other young guys living here who were from Italy, Greece and Spain. It was there that I met another Italian, Davide Tulliani, we hit it off and spent a lot of time together.

“Back from the Sarau Festival last year, Davide and I decided to start a business together. Davide has been here for many years and knows how to move, basically we thought you know something, I know something so that we can do something unique together.

“We realized that no one made fresh, authentic gnocchi. Of course, I learned how to make gnocchi from my grandmother, so we decided to see if there was a demand for it.

Gnocchi are traditional in Italy so Enrico and Davide “called our grandmothers for tips and tricks on how to prepare them, we have some differences in the raw materials here compared to Italy so we worked hard with their advice to make sure we make a product that’s true to our heritage using New Zealand ingredients.

They set out to make traditional potato, pumpkin and beetroot gnocchi, gluten-free and vegan gnocchi. Everything is handmade in a certified kitchen, including the sauces we have created to meet local tastes.

Taking the basic gnocchi, you can choose from sauces like blue cheese with mushrooms and truffles (“our most popular”) and nuts, milder flavors of taleggio cheese and spinach as well as a tomato sauce. traditional classic or a very tasty pesto.

“Before we started selling we called all of our friends and asked them to try our gnocchi and sauces to help us figure out what people liked, most of them were Italians so they were overjoyed to try the homemade gnocchi again. “

They started in various markets in the region in June “having to deal with bad weather every weekend, then foreclosure was tough, so now I’m really building the business.” Davide recently decided to quit the food business, I swapped my full-time job at McCashin’s for a casual job to do so.

“A lot of people don’t know what gnocchi are, so I like people to try them in the markets. When you eat gnocchi the texture is really important, it has to melt in your mouth and it is much better done by hand, when people have the opportunity to try them they make their mouths delight and they love it and it makes me really proud of my hard work.

Enrico cooks his fresh gnocchi to order in the markets to eat in or take away. You can also buy it frozen with the on-the-go sauces. “We give people a pot of sauce to go with the gnocchi they bring home. Cooking it from frozen only takes three minutes in boiling water, when the gnocchi rise to the surface they are cooked, watch the video on their Facebook page.

“I want to grow the business and I have a lot of ideas for things like door-to-door deliveries. Making gnocchi takes all my time, but starting a new business comes with risks and rewards, you have to work hard to be successful, it doesn’t happen instantly, but it works so far.

You can try and buy these very tasty traditional Italian gnocchi at the Farmers Market, Saturday Market and Richmond Market. Visit the website www.whatgnocchi.com to find out more and stay in touch on social media.


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