“They are all called anchovies but they aren’t all the same”

Umberto is in Kelibia, in Tunisia. We talk on the phone and in his voice is deep, like the sea that bewitched him in his youth and took him to Sicily.


What does “Master salter” mean?

For me, someone from Bergamo who migrated to the south, “Master salter” means family. This is the craft that my father-inlaw Pino Ranzino taught me – a Master salter and entrepreneur – who, together with Dr Emilio Rizzoli (the Chairman of Delicius), founded one of the largest salting plants in Cefalù, Sicily. In the winter months, you could smell this unmistakable scent of brine mixed with passion which accompanies me in all the fishing ports where I bring my experience on behalf of Delicius. Today, I’m proud to have my son Nicola at my side, who has inherited his grandfather’s verve and is also growing thanks to the advice of Emilio (Rizzoli) who has put his trust in him.

The main criteria haven’t changed: choosing the fish personally on the quay, the quantity of salt, the right press, the maturing premises … and then there is the time, which a good salter has to dose like the most valuable ingredient. They may seem like details, but each one makes a difference.

What anchovy do you prefer?

Each anchovy has its own characteristics but I love the ones from the Strait of Sicily with their pink colour and the typical ham scent that lingers on the palate: no other anchovy has this balance!



master salter