From Miss Italia to Calabrian cedars: Angela’s beautiful tale

Caress the realization of a dream closely and then realize that it is true happiness lies in going home, in family, to the truest values ​​of the own land, and in starting a completely different work activity, right in the wake of tradition of the territory.
This is what the story of Angela Mandato tells. A beautiful Calabrian girl who has decided to abandon her career as a model and actress, also passed through Miss Italy, to manage a new cultivation and transformation company of cedars and figs.
That is the typical products of the Riviera dei cedri: an area of ​​the Calabria far from the spotlight not only of the catwalks and sets, but also from the more traditional tourist routes, which has always remained in Angela’s heart.
Even when he temporarily abandoned her to try to follow the dreams of a child.


The story of Angela miss and model

The story of today’s 31-year-old Angela Mandato begins by resembling that of many beautiful village girls.
«My adventure – he remembers – started very early, a 15 years, starting from the classics local beauty contests, passing to the regional and national ones, up to the coveted landing, at the age of 18 at pre-finals of Miss Italia in Salsomaggiore ».
And the 2008, the year that will crown Miriam Leone as the most beautiful in the country. Angela thus arrives among the top 200 beautiful girls of the pre-finals.


“From here – he continues – however, an intense and hopeful journey began between fashion shows, appearing on TV and advertising”. The young Mandato is chosen for example by the director Giovanni Veronesi as protagonist of the commercial for a bank note and participates, with small parts, in successful fiction come “A doctor in the family” O “The Cesaroni“. She is then chosen by Valeria Marini for 2 years as a first model for the fashion shows of his clothes around Italy.

From Rome… home

Angela, at this point, moved to Roma for a couple of years. And start thinking …
“At the time – he says – I also spent some periods without having jobs, I waited a long time. And that left me time for better understand what I wanted to do. The world of entertainment and fashion is all a question mark. Lots of girls scramble for a spot. And I concluded that something was wrong. Because it is obvious that the years go by and if you reach a certain age without being able to do something solid, you have to think about finding yourself a “serious” job ».

Cedars workshops

At this point, Angela’s father intervenes. Which, while doing a completely different job, given that he has an aluminum window and door company, has always been very attached to his land.
“He called me – recalls the former model – asking me if I wanted to go home, because he intended to open a small company of typical products of tradition and he would have liked to entrust it to me. ‘
Thus was born, in 2012, “Officine dei cedri”, managed by a very young Angela with the help of her brother Salvatore for the administration and her cousin.

Make Calabria known through its excellence

It is enough to exchange a few words with Angela Mandato to understand how much she is proud to work with some typical products of her land to be considered real excellences: cedars and figs.
His company produces a large part of the fruit directly, but also receives daily fresh products from other farmers in the area, in order to have zero km supply chain the raw material needed to cover the production. Which takes place strictly by hand.

“A fantastic territory, with great tourist opportunities”

“In my business – he explains – I want to help spread the knowledge of a somewhat forgotten territory, the Riviera dei Cedri and set aside, because far from everyone. We don’t already have an airport, which was built but never opened. To get to the sea, it takes an hour by motorway from Lagonegro. Let alone on the train. But it is a fantastic territory, with a super clean sea and great tourist opportunities. It is sad to hear that in Calabria there is no work and there are no companies: we must do everything possible, in this sense. And I, in my small way, am happy to set an example: by making my story known a bit special, I have seen more than one who is trying to imitate me ».

Cedars: founders of all citrus fruits

Angela, on the other hand, is negatively surprised to discover that many do not even know the cedar, which instead, he emphasizes, is the true progenitor of all citrus fruits, given that they derive the same lemon, but also the bitter orange. And it is rich in properties: not only the high content of vitamin C, but also the ability to lower cholesterol and the fundamental role also for the teeth or the cure of gastritis.

Smooth diamond cedars

«We – he adds – grow high quality cedars: the“ smooth diamond ”. Citrus fruits of such a quality that they have also received the kosher certification, so much so that every year the rabbis come to us in the summer to collect the perfect cedar for the traditional feast of booths. And to do this, they sit under each cedar to see if the fruit is good, without streaks or spots. After all, it is the same bible that says that there is a strip of land where the fruit of the most beautiful tree grows. And that place is Santa Maria del Cedro ».

Typical products for true gourmets

As for the figs, in this area of ​​Calabria the “white dottati”: Smaller and sweeter than blacks, indicated above all for jams and drying. Not surprisingly, one of the traditional sweets produced by Angela Mandato are dried figs stuffed with cedar and walnuts, typical of Christmas. “We are however planning, for the next few years, to add new products to the dozen of current ones, always in the wake of the link with a territory that has so much to give”
Then we cannot fail to mention the Calabrian panicles, also appreciated at the time by Gabriele D’Annunzio. That is bundles of cedar leaves (which Angela collects in first person), baked with fresh diced cedar and raisins zibibbo raisins inside and sewn with broom thread.
“When you open the bundle – he says – a heady scent of cedar is released, also deriving from the same leaves, which are not eaten”.

Calabrian panicelli Officine dei cedri

Proud businesswoman

In addition to the relaunch of the territory, another of the key messages that Angela Mandato wants to convey is that of possibility, even for a girl, to do a good business.
«If it is difficult to make it understood at all latitudes – he admits – it is even more so in Calabria. At first, in fact, everyone looked at me wrong. Now that I have shown that I know how to do it, however, things have changed, even though I know that I still have a long way to go. I know – he continues – that I will still have to work hard, but that’s the beauty of it. And slowly you can do everything. Also because I must say that I received more messages after TG1 broadcast a report on my business rather than on the occasion of my participation in Miss Italia ». A world, the glossy one, which admits: «I miss a little, but not that much. Because at 15 or 18 you think about who knows what, but now I have a beautiful life and everything I want ».

The bond with the family

Last, but absolutely at the top of the scale of values, with her business Angela Mandato has increasingly strengthened the already solid family ties. A fundamental figure, for example, is that of maternal grandmother, Ida, 83, still active in the company after a life as a housewife and alongside her husband who, although a blacksmith by profession, has always cultivated the land and cedars in particular. «It is she – admits Angela – who transmitted what I know to me. Every morning, when the deliveries of the figs arrive, he passes them one by one, to see if they are okay. And at Christmas he comes to check the sweets, making me start over if he thinks something is wrong. But it makes me very happy ».

Healthy values ​​handed down from generation to generation

Now Angela, despite going to Santa Maria del Cedro every morning, has moved a few kilometers.
He lives in Cosenza with husband, Antonio Crispino, also an entrepreneur. And in January will become a mother of a little girl, who will be called Francesca. “If one day she wants to do it too his experiences e cultivate a dream like my girl – concludes – will be free to do so. I will leave her space, as my father did with me. Because, while following me step by step, without ever leaving me alone, my parents really allowed me to do what I really wanted, without any jealousy. But always with your back covered».

Alberto Minazzi

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