Dario Barbone & Renato Sardo, Baia Pasta
“Food is being removed from culture... people are not really connected with a specific relationship with food: eating at the table, cooking for other people, visiting your local farmer’s market...”

It's hard to find a better recipe for the makers of organic pasta than two Italians with a background in the slow food movement and molecular biology. Founders of Baia Pasta, Dario Barbone and Renato Sardo, are both from the Piemonte region of Italy — the same region where Umberto Gibin, from our last episode, is also from.

Like Gibin, Barbone and Sardo grew up in Italy, surrounded by the ultimate farm-to-table lifestyle. Sardo took that passion to his entire career, spent mostly with Slow Food International, as did Barbone, who has a PhD in molecular medicine and sees the nutritional importance of organically sourced ingredients.

Barbone and Sardo met in San Francisco and found roots in Oakland, so decided on the name “Baia,” which means “Bay” in Italian, as a nod to the company's home. Baia Pasta, though made by two Italians, is an American pasta at its core. The flour, the grains, the production, and the business are all based in the United States. The two are on a mission to bring the passion their home country of Italy has for food — not just the flavors, but the culture and significance around meals and the relationship between the origin of food and what ends up on our plate.

Starting with the colorful boxes of distinctly geometric pasta, there is something fresh about Baia. Barbone and Sardo may well be on their way to reconnecting Americans with our farmer’s markets and the seasonal fruits, vegetables, and proteins grown by our neighboring farms. All we need now is a bowl of organic pasta to complement it all.

The yellow Baia Pasta sign glows in the sunlight. Radiatori Durum pasta, freshly made at the Baia Pasta shop in Oakland. A bold yellow sign for Baia Pasta greets Jack London Square visitors.
Baia Pasta: Artisan-made in Oakland, California. Dario Barbone pours water into the Baia Pasta pasta machine.
Dario moves freshly formed pasta to the drying tray. The different shapes made by Baia Pasta on display in their Oakland store front at Jack London Square. Customers select pasta packaged in brightly colored boxes in Oakland's Baia Pasta shop. Pasta is quickly formed by the small machine at the back of Baia Pasta. Dario Barbone soaks in the fruits (well, pasta) of his labor. Spices and pickled items are sold at the Baia Pasta shop, in addition to their artisan pasta. The bright Baia Pasta packaging stands out on the shelf. Pasta machines and bright yellow signs.

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