Fiammetta Mag-gio Pereira came to India on a holiday nearly 20 years ago and, needless to say, she fell in love with the country and stayed back. Pereira used to work with a photo agency in Italy and now exports home linen to Europe and other nations in the West like Australia with her husband, Gerard Pereira. She is a fan of the many weaves our country offers and the history behind them. “Each pocket of the country offers something unique like ikat patterns from Gujarat and kalamkari work from Hyderabad,” Pereira says. It was around the time that she met her husband and eventually joined him in exporting home linen.
Love for linen
The duo who live with their son and daughter in Madhavaram, source silk and other textiles from places like Tirupur, Salem and Karur. “I learnt everything about textiles on the job,” confesses Pereira. Demands for colours and patterns vary from country to country, she admits. “I love playing around with sari borders and using them for table and bed linen. Countries like Australia and New Zealand prefer pastel colours, but European countries that have colder, darker winters prefer warmer colours like dark greens and reds, but put lighter curtains on the window because they miss sunlight,” she adds.
The expat who loves cooking, especially when she has guests over, is thinking of starting Italian cooking classes over weekends. Pereira informs, ‘‘It’s going to be an informal setting, where besides planning menus I will also be sharing information on individual ingredients.’’ For instance Ricotta cheese can be used for savouries, pasta sauce and quiches. Her variations of lasagne have been a hit with her friends here. Instead of the traditional beef lasagne, she offers her personal favourite Pesto Lasagne, Ricotta Cheese Lasagne (topped with parmesan) and the unusual Fish Lasagne (without cheese). She picks paneer butter masala and sora puttu as her local choice.
Periera will start taking Italian cooking classes (Rs 500-Rs 700 per person) soon. To sign up, call her on 9840412167. Her store Bottega Pereira will open in April.