Meet Fran & Mary Ann Valente


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Fran & Mary Ann Valente, Pasta Valente

“My [pasta] flavors are a bit like children, there are no favorites but each has its special quality.”

Photo by Jen Fariello

Fran Valente – who owns Pasta Valente with her daughter Mary Ann – started selling her pasta at the City Market in the 1980s when specialty food was just beginning to take off. “It was a hit, quite often she sold out before the day was over,” recalls Mary Ann. Her mother took over the pasta making in the family as her grandmother aged; inspired by Italian tradition, she used a small hand-cranked pasta machine set up in her sewing room. Pasta Valente is now available at retail outlets in 48 states, including locally at Foods of All Nations and Kroger. Despite their widespread growth, they have maintained the homemade flavor and texture of their products and continue to support the community, donating to silent auctions, charity events and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Pasta Valente’s standard staples like garlic parsley and tomato basil are always popular, plus special flavors – like pumpkin or chocolate pasta – are available seasonally. Mary Ann can’t choose just one favorite but she does enjoy chilled sesame pasta and spinach linguine with crumbled blue cheese and artichokes. “But really that’s just what I’m eating this month. Next month will change,” she says. pastavalente.com

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