By Lana Guineay
When Italian cooking met Barossa Valley produce, beautiful things happened.
By ‘beautiful things’, we mean cuisine that draws crowds from across the state and buzzy reviews from Australia and beyond.
Situated in picturesque Angaston, Casa Carboni’s rustic shopfront only hints at what’s behind the front doors: not only will you find all-day Italian style dining, but also a popular cooking school, a wine bar, and a retail area stocked with essential kitchen and pantry wares.
The multidimensional space is the result of love, labour (and lots of flour) for globe-trotting Fiona and Matteo Carboni, the enterprising husband and wife team behind Casa Carboni Italian Cooking School & Enoteca.
Italian-born chef Matteo, and former wine export manager Fiona moved from Northern Italy to the Barossa Valley in 2011, bringing years of food and wine experience literally to the table.
“I fell in love with the people, produce and lifestyle,” says Matteo.
Born and raised in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, Matteo learned traditional pasta-making techniques from his nonna Pia when he as still a young boy, including the importance of using fresh eggs straight from ‘il contadino’ (the farmer).
Matteo went on to study Food Science at university, and travel the globe discovering the best techniques from the great chefs of the world.
Fiona was working in wine export, her job taking her to Italy where the pair first met in 2005.
The couple re-located to Melbourne in 2011, but a short-term stint at the Novotel Barossa Valley proved fateful.
Fiona says it took “about a week” before they fell in love with the area.
“We love the diversity of the region,” says Matteo.
“Here we are in the countryside and in an hour can be taking a dip at the beach or taking an international flight!”
The move to the Barossa also opened up a new range of produce for Matteo to work with.
Starting with a weekly stall at the Barossa Farmers Market, they sold fresh handmade pasta, biscotti and nougat.
“Our market stall was a great way to meet locals, suppliers and friends,” says Fiona.
“About six months later, the charming 67 Murray Street Angaston became available for lease… and Casa Carboni was born from our shared passion for Italian food and wine culture, and the produce and community we discovered here in the Barossa Valley.”
Since they launched in 2011 Casa Carboni has been featured everywhere from the BBC, to Gourmet Traveller and the Sydney Morning Herald.
The market’s produce still determines the day’s dishes, with an ever-shifting selection of traditional Italian recipes using local and seasonal produce, paired with wines selected by expert Fiona.
“My inspiration comes from regional Italian food culture however the strongest connections I have is with Emilia Romagna where I was born and raised, and fresh pasta is a big part of everyday life,” Matteo says.
“I am very respectful of the ‘materia prima’ (produce) I use and loyal to my suppliers. My salad grower delivers to me every Thursday morning and I sneak one of my little cakes for her troubles into her bag….”
The proud Barossans return to Italy each year with their children Sofia and Filippo – but say there is no place like home.
“We are fortunate that each year we close the doors and take Sofia and Filippo back to Italy to see Matteo’s family, our friends and producers,” says Fiona.
“It is great to be on the other side and see what is happening in Italy and France, however the greatest feeling is knowing how lucky we are to have discovered the Barossa Valley – that is always reinforced when we go away.”
From the cooking school, to the restaurant, to the wine bar and retail space; there’s lots going on at Casa Carboni, but what unites it all?
“The rustic charm of 67 Murray Street, our love of food and wine… and the two of us!” says Fiona.
Casa Carboni Italian Cooking School & Enoteca
67 Murray Street, Angaston, South Australia
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