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ENTHUSIASTIC FOLLOWERS of Italian design may recall the 1983 Voiello Marille by Giugaro. Indeed, Giorgetto Giugiaro is one of the most highly regarded designers in the world, named Car Designer of the Century in 1999 by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation.
More than 100 automobiles carry shapes originally penned by Giugiaro and, later, by his ItalDesign established in 1968. Iconic automobiles include the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT/GTV, the DeLorean DMC-12, the Ferrari 250 GT SWB Bertone, the Saab 9000 and original Volkswagen Golf.
But what about the 1983 Voiello Marille? Does this one confound even the tifosi?
Not if they include pasta among their list of admired things Italian.
Voiello is a Neapolitan food producer based in Torre Annunziata, at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius. Founded by Giovanni Voiello in 1879, the company’s heritage stretches back to 1839 with a “Neapolitan passion and Swiss precision.”
These two watch words, passion and precision, continued in the early 1980s when the company searched for an innovative pasta shape. Notes the Giugiaro Design’s pasta press release, “In accordance with Neapolitan tradition, the exterior is smooth. Flavour, on the other hand, is captured by the Greek “beta”-shaped cross section and internal grooves that both hold the sauce and make a perfect straining of the water possible.”
Also, the pasta should increase its volume while cooking. It should capture just enough sauce. It should taste good.
The pasta needs a good name too. One of my favorite pasta names is Strozzapreti, literally, priest stranglers.
The Marille shape displayed an innovation in production engineering. Specifically, Giugiaro designed it to be extruded continuously through a drawplate containing multiple heads.
Alas, Voiello’s marketing of Marille was less than successful. The pasta had a major product introduction in Milan, but this was never followed with wide distribution. Its cooking time, longer than those of conventional shapes, hampered its adoption by the restaurant trade. And, worse yet, there were rumors of its complex contours precluding the uniform al dente perfection of just the right resistance to bite.
In retrospect, the Voiello Marille was not among Giugiaro’s greatest successes. However, he took it philosophically saying in 1991, “But I owe my popular fame to that pasta. I got even published on Newsweek.”
What’s more, the pasta reminds me of that super-high-performance exoticar, the Fazool. Among our Cleveland East High foreign car crowd (all three of us), it was well known that no one could “pass the Fazool.” ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2015.