Thursday, September 27, 2018

Meet Margaret River’s biscotti king: Claudio Tallarico

Get up close and you’ll see it is the popular local biscuit business, Claudio Biscotti, with dozens of platters filled to the brim with batches upon batches of Italian treats. There are the soft and chewy varieties like delicate sponge fingers, fluffy chocolatey hazelnut meringues, crisp gingerbread-like snaps, and then there are the moist and chewy Sardinian Amaretti topped with an almond.

Claudio Tallarico is the man behind the Claudio Biscotti brand and he is the undisputed biscotti king of the South-West. Hailing from Rome and trained as a chef in Italy, he was drawn to the sweeter side of food early on in his career. Lucky for us, he now calls the South-West home, with a fully functional kitchen workspace in Cowaramup to create his goods.

Expressive and upbeat, Claudio is someone who clearly relishes his job.

“Making things from scratch – that’s what I love. And I love the fact that you can create something from nothing. Just mix some flour, sugar and butter in a different way and you can create so much stuff; it’s incredible.”

Images courtesy

His craft is also a journey through Italian history, Claudio says enthusiastically, with each of the biscuits on his menu possessing an individual and rich history.

“In Italy, we have 20 regions and each region they have their own biscuits, their own recipes, their own history. I try to do biscuits from all over Italy – the north, south and centre. Some biscuits are from the 1400s and you can find out who used to make it: the monk or the chef for the king. That’s fascinating for me.”

This passion for food came from his father. A builder by trade but a keen cook, Claudio’s father taught him the way around a kitchen from the age of nine. This at-home early education led Claudio down the path to catering school, and on to working as a chef in England, The Netherlands, France and all over Italy before he settled in Australia’s South-West with his wife, Milena, and their daughter.

Images courtesy

Out of his kitchen in Cowaramup, he makes 170 types of biscuits – mostly Italian – as well as other sweets, breads, and wedding cakes. He also caters for dinner functions and is available for hire as a private chef. But traditional biscotti remains his bread and butter and what most people in the South-West recognise him for.

We asked him if he has a favourite. Or is that akin to asking to single out a favourite child?

“No, I love them all. But there is one in particular that is the biscuit that I sell the most: the ricciarelli. It’s crispy outside and very tender inside, made with orange and almond. One of the most ancient biscuits in Italy and I love to make them.”

(As a side note, these are rumoured to be Queen Elizabeth’s favourite Italian biscuit, so if you are a fan, you’re in good company).

Visit Claudio’s Facebook and Instagram pages for more information about where to find his biscotti, private dining and more.


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