July is a very important time for all of us at Saclà as it is the peak time of year when fresh basil is picked. The season runs from the end of June to the end of September, depending how much sun and rain has kissed the fields of the Piedmont region in Northern Italy.
Basil is undoubtedly the king of fragrant herbs. Saclà harvests many tonnes every year to create our aromatic pestos – Classic Pesto 190g, Wild Rocket Pesto 190g, Tomato Pesto 190g.
The basil plants are a heavily scented green variety with a wonderfully fresh zingy flavour with a top note of lemon.
The seeds are planted by the four handsome Amateis brothers in April, roughly two months before harvesting, which takes place in the early mornings before the sun becomes too strong. The brothers drive the basil harvester meticulously along thick rows of plants, often singing to themselves whilst soaking up the glory of the deep Italian countryside.The plants are never completely cut, they’re just thinned out. They are then cropped every two weeks to let the smaller leaves grow. The freshly cut basil piles high on the back of the cutting machine before being returned to the farm for washing and packing into trays. They finally end up at the basil HQ in Asti – the home of Sacla.
Once the basil arrives at HQ there’s no time to waste as we pick and pack within 24 hours. That’s what makes the sauce so intense. The pesto magic starts as we select and wash the finest leaves, then add the pine nuts, garlic and oil, Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano cheeses.
It’s a simple process but one the Saclà family is deeply passionate about. And it’s why our little jars stay at the number one spot in various markets around the world.
So enjoy. And remember, life is better with Saclà Classic Pesto.
Hints and Tips
In Italy Pesto is almost always served with freshly cooked pasta.
It is slightly diluted and warmed with a few spoonfuls of the cooking water before it is served with linguine or trenette (a type of narrow, flat pasta common to the Liguria region). Often small pieces of potatoes and green beans are added, their textures and flavours perfectly complimenting the pesto and the pasta, making for a more substantial dish.
Another traditional way of using pesto is to stir a spoonful into minestrone soup, just before serving to create Minestrone alla Genovese.
There are countless other ways to enjoy the taste of good pesto!
- Try adding it to cooked vegetables instead of butter. Their warmth releases the flavour as the Saclà Classic Pesto slowly melts through
- Pesto is ideal for potato salads. Simply add the Saclà Classic Pesto when the potatoes have been cooked but are still hot, so that they absorb the aroma, and then chill until required.
- Saclà Classic Pesto adds a great taste and colour to yoghurt, crème fraiche and mayonnaise. Mix well and then use to top potatoes, accompany salads or simply as a spread on crusty bread.
- Create a delicious herb crust by mixing fresh breadcrumbs with Saclà Classic Pesto and use them to baste fish such as salmon or tuna, or use it in the same way with skinless chicken breasts. Use as a baste or add a spoonful on the side as an accompaniment.
- Mix Saclà Classic Pesto with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make a delicious dressing to serve with roasted peppers or eggplants, or with sweet-tasting, freshly sliced tomatoes.
- Saclà Classic Pesto makes for a flavoursome filling for omelettes.