Oakland may not be known for its Italian food, but there’s certainly an Italian way of thinking about the food here -- local, organic, and family-oriented are the biggest trends in Cali cuisine. That’s why Renato Sardo felt comfortable bringing his organization, Slow Foods International, to the Bay area. Slow Foods is a group focused on sustainable and ethical food, and Sardo established a San Francisco chapter before moving on to create his own food that aligned with the Slow Food mission.
After noticing that most Italian pasta makers actually used American-grown grains, Sardo realized it would be possible to make a true “Italian” pasta, right in Oakland. Teaming up with fellow paisan Dario Barbone, he established Baia Pasta, producing traditional pasta using American wheat. They cold-knead the dough, extrude it in small, 25lb batches, and dry by hand, yet manage an amazing efficiency. To meet local demand, they now press over 2,500lbs daily, with only five employees.