Throughout my time spent in Italy, visiting numerous small producers up and down this breath taking peninsula, I remember stopping by a small town called Rio Saliceto in the province of Reggio Emilia. A rural location, where time seems to have stopped for years. The territory had been hit by a massive earthquake a few months before and everything was still largely destroyed.
Despite it all I remember the passion and details given to me by this small producer of balsamic vinegar. He engaged me in not only the technical details about the products, but shared his family history and how they have worked for generations to develop and keep the century old recipe and its production method.
I remember Andrea, this small yet proud owner, at the end of the tour offering me a teaspoon of his balsamic vinegar. I will not hide it, I was a bit surprised. « Who drinks balsamic vinegar?!
Was he serious? » The producer insisted. So I let my senses go and I tasted it… Sweet, smooth, and mild – the flavours conquered the palate. I recall a mix of fruit with a scent of wood. I have never tasted anything like that. Andrea continued « This is a true artisan product and the difference is evident. The product contains only the cooked grapes. There are no colorants, thickeners, or additives. Just pure grape must coming from my “back yard” ». He pointed the finger to the back of the building, where we had previously passed when touring around. All of his grapes are grown on a family owned vineyard. « I work out of passion and love for what my family has created. I prefer to offer a limited amount of units of my product, but being certain that the quality is exceptional. Only then you can drink balsamic vinegar, and be sure it’s good for you! »
Only then did I realize that I wanted to feature suppliers like Andrea. I wanted the Canadian market to taste the difference I had felt for that first time in Reggio Emilia. Why would anybody want to settle for anything else but a delicacy like that?! We are so used to the “common”, industrial products we can find so easily in any supermarket, online… or anywhere for that matter! But this is exactly the reason why Taste for Luxury was created and why we bring the difference in test versus the common, every day products. This is what we work for continuously – situations like the ones I experienced with Andrea, were also our customers can sense the unforgettable flavours, at home or in their kitchens. Feel what I had felt during that tour at Rio Saliceto.
This experience I had encountered is what we work on for all of our products categories. Whether we are talking about olive oils, cheeses, pasta or jams, I want you to encounter those senses and return to favouring what artisan products are supposed to taste like! So go ahead, try it out. You’ll be amazed.