Yesterday I visited the Natural products Show in Olympia London and while walking across the Italian pavillion I came across a small crowd around a little stand. I had a sneak view and saw on a plate the object of desire: bruschettas with fresh crushed bright red tomatoes. I did try to squeeze in, but in the end I had to go back a few hours later when it was quieter, getting clear access to the plate to grab a lovely bruchetta. It was really tasty and fresh with the typical flavour of a tomato that has ripened in the sun on the plant, like the ones my grandpa cultivates in his vegetable garden back in Italy. I could not understand how Italian fresh sun ripened tomatos could be available in April, so I got chatting with the people on the stand, opening doors to what is for me a very inpirational story. Those tomatoes, called Pantaleo's, are typical of an area near Brindisi, South of Italy. They only grow there, near the sea; they are a special variety that has adapted to grow in "hostile" soil that is rich in sea minerals. Because of this they also manage to last eight months from when they are cropped. They are simply hung in a ventilated area, with no need of drying or refrigeration, keeping their beautiful deep red colour and lovely round shape. How eco and clever is that?
On top of that I was told that these tomato plants are grown with another local plant, a special cotton variety that is prone to the same parasytes as the tomato, helping giving the alarm before it spreads to the tomato plants.
Pantaleo agricoltura has organic certification with ICEA and is also part of the Slow Food movement.
If you are planning to visit the Natural Products Europe Show in Olympia today they are at stand 5070C
Let's hope to see them soon in shops here in the UK, perhaps the Pantale's bruschetta can be the new sun surrogate for the chilly UK weather. What do you think?