Entrepreneur Damiano Mazzarella emigrated from sunny Rome to chilly Malmo in Sweden. He loves doing the shopping because Swedish supermarkets seem like museums. His fridge is full of healthy, fresh food to ensure
a good diet for his three children.
Rome to Sweden. What drove you to make such a
drastic life change?
Everyone has asked me, “What made you do it?” since I left. However, if you’re driven by instinct, it can’t be that rational. Let’s say that I convinced myself it was the right choice to “emigrate” up to the cold northern regions where the people are cold and everything seems to be really cold. Actually, that’s not true. Even the famous magazine Monocle, my guru among magazines, confirms that Scandinavians (and especially the Danes) are the happiest people in the world! And I believe it; I live in Malmo, across the
water from Copenhagen, and I found the city to be extremely vibrant, super cool and modern, a mini melting pot.
new Viking supermodel and you can keep the mandolins and sunsets. Italy? Yes, it’s a great place…. for a holiday!
How have your habits changed?
Well, since I stopped smoking and drinking I haven’t got many habits left. For the time being I’m a slave, kept prisoner by my fabulous young children. And as I’ve got three there’s plenty to do.
And your relationship with food?
My relationship with food hasn’t begun yet; we haven’t been introduced yet, but maybe a relationship will get going … Joking aside though, the problem is that I come from a family that’s slightly unique and food never played a major role in the home. My father often advised me not to eat too much to avoid making a bad impression with the girls I went out with, while my mother, like a good smart American, never wanted to compete with Italian haute cuisine. I had a nanny who stayed with me until I was twenty and loved me as if I were her one of her own but she definitely was not the most talented in the kitchen. I survived by eating a bit of this and that. Maybe that’s where I got lucky.
What are the dietary customs in Sweden?
I want to laugh because this question makes me feel completely Italian and I’d like to shout at the top of my voice to the rest of the world about our culinary invincibility. We eat well in Italy because the ingredients are simple. But in Sweden they have three courses together on one big plate; first and second courses and every now and then pineapple even turns up in the middle of it all. Edible, but with your eyes shut. I’m joking. We eat good, healthy food in my house. Otherwise my wife gets mad.
How would you describe the Swedes in the kitchen? And what are they like socially?
The Swedes are great cooks and a new generation of chefs is emerging over here. You’d be astounded if you went to Stockholm. I’ve enjoyed the incredible experience of Noma, voted the world’s best restaurant three years running. Now that really leaves you speechless.
What do you keep in your fridge in Malmo?
I love doing the shopping; it’s the one hour I’m let out for exercise, just joking. Plus being in a Swedish supermarket is a bit like being in a museum. Everyone is blonde, clean and tidy. And you meet some beautiful women, the famous “Swedish blondes” and you just want to buy everything in sight. The fridge is often full, but it doesn’t contain many preserves. I don’t preserve very much.
Do you ever feel homesick?
Nostalgia for Italy… To be honest I’m not the sort of person who gets nostalgic, I haven’t got time to look back.