Over the last thirty years since we first pioneered Pesto and brought it to the UK from its homeland in Italy. We’ve watched with interest and excitement as other regional Italian ingredients and ideas have followed in the footsteps of Pesto.
Sun Dried Tomatoes made their first appearance, arriving from the southern shores of Italy, at about the same time as Pesto – one day we had never heard of them and the next they were on pizza, pasta and in breads and salads. Today we tend to favour the “sun-blush” or roasted tomato but we know that the chewy, slightly leathery, intense sweetness of the tomatoes, dried in the fierce Italian sunshine, will always have a place at our table. Find our favourite Sun Dried Tomato recipe here.
And where would we be without Aceto Balsamico, arriving from Modena where it’s been prized for hundreds of years? We embraced the romance of this indispensable ingredient and today it’s a store cupboard staple. It is completely synonymous with Italian food of all kinds, drizzled, laced and enhanced.
More recently, we’ve seen the arrival of Burrata which also sprung up overnight, as the rather more alluring and seductive Mozzarella. What we seem to love is it’s “filling” of Straciatella and cream. Burrata means “buttery”, a fitting description for a cheese that is perfect in salads, a-top pizza and melted through pasta.
So what next you ask? Well, we have our sights set on ‘Nduja, a soft and spicy salami that hails from Calabria, Italy’s toe. It seems to be the ingredient of the moment, thanks to one of our favourite chefs, Francesco Mazzei. He will doubtless be credited with ‘Nduja’s arrival in the UK back in 2008 – much as Sally Clarke has been for the Sun Dried Tomato. Calabrian’s spread 'Nduja thickly on bread and quite delicious it is too. It’s just as delicious with seafood (really!), in pasta, and on pizza. We’ve tried it recently at “Appletons at the Vineyards” in Cornwall, with crisps Parmesan and Polenta chips. We think 'Nduja, pronounced “en-doo-ya” is the ingredient of the moment, so watch this space. We would love your thoughts and ideas, let us know in the comments below.