Pizza, bruschette, caprese with buffalo mozzarella, scialatielli with seafood: some of the specialities of typical Neapolitan cuisine. What is it that makes these dishes unique? Pasquale Imperato, owner of the Sapori Vesuviani farm, grows an excellent product just a few kilometres from Naples that is the envy of the whole world: the “Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio” PDO.
How did the production of “Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio” PDO start?
Initially our fields were full of apricot trees, although the cultivation of piennolo has always characterised our family for four generations. The volcanic soil on the hillside close to the sea and the sea breeze that perfumes our fields is the beautiful reality, envied by many, in which the Piennolo tomato is born. In 2009 we moved from domestic use to a real production thanks to the PDO certification.
My father used to say that everyone should have an activity in life that is not work but fun. Following his advice, as an officer in the armed forces, I gave up that kind of work to pursue my greatest passion. Today I am very proud to grow this product and satisfied to be able to bring it into people’s homes. We have always adhered to the principle of zero km, because it is only from a healthy environment that health comes to the table.
What are the characteristics of “Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio” PDO?
First of all, the harvesting of the cherry tomatoes is done exclusively by hand, the very creation of the piennoli is done manually. The cherry tomatoes are strung on a hemp thread until the final formation of the piennolo.
In addition, the piennolo tomato is the only one in the world that manages to be preserved for 1 year from harvest. Today we are still marketing last year’s cherry tomatoes. This is because plants, accustomed to living in a hostile environment, have developed in their DNA the characteristic of needing very little water. Thanks to this feature the tomato can be preserved for a whole year.
Finally, its sweet taste and bitter sour aftertaste that derives from the Vesuvian territory. The soil of volcanic origin is rich in minerals such as sulfur, but above all potassium that make this tomato a unique product for its flavor.
How is the “Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio” PDO protected?
The PDO certification was issued by the European Union in 2009. The piennolo tomato was on the way to extinction and the Protected Designation of Origin helped to increase its production. We are carrying out the qr code campania safe and transparent project. Starting from 2013 Campania has been the first to equip itself with this digital traceability system, where the consumer can know everything about the company and the product.
The Zooprophylactic Institute of Portici thanks to this project came to the company to do not only the analysis of the product, but also of the soil and irrigation water. In this way we guarantee maximum safety with digital traceability, since only from a healthy environment is health on the table born.
With which dishes is combined with the piennolo tomato?
I recommend tasting the piennolo tomatoes combined with seafood dishes, on pizza, over bruschetta or in caprese with buffalo mozzarella pdo. In addition, the “Pacchetella” and the Tomato Puree can be used to create tasty and unique sauces. The best pizzerias, restaurants and chefs are looking for this tomato for its organoleptic and original characteristics, thus promoting the product all over the world.
Do you have any advice to give to consumers?
Special attention must be paid to what we bring to our tables. Using more PDO and PGI certified products which are the most protected and safeguarded products. From Calabrian Nduja to Treviso radicchio, up to the piennolo tomato, we must prefer our products of excellence according to a principle of short supply chain from the field to the mouth.
The philosophy of life of the company, which coincides with my personal philosophy, is the same as hobbes. Between being and having to be there must be no distinction but there must be uniqueness. We all that we say is true, we have made the commitment to respect the environment and cultivate a unique product linked to the territory, a commitment that we maintain day by day.