Patrizia, Professor Bellavista's daughter in the masterpiece film by Luciano De Crescenzo, walks briskly into the bourgeois kitchen of a palace in the heart of Naples. There, she finds the whole family, distant relatives and maids included, busily bottling tomato sauce amid hairdryers drying dark half-liter beer bottles, newspaper to prevent the bottles from "schiantino" when boiled for sterilization, funnels, ladles, linen towels and cauldrons, and blurts out, "I really can't understand why on earth this family can't buy canned tomatoes like all civilized people.”
Bellavista candidly replies in a way that brooks no argument: “Because those are tomatoes we haven't met personally!”
Exactly forty years later, at Velier we decided that the ingredients we have been lovingly selecting for our own table for years - and have 'met personally' - should be available for everyone’s home pantry, whether they be everyday ingredients or delicacies reserved for a special day or an unexpected guest. That's just what we've been doing for years with Triple "A" wines. To us, they're not just bottles but faces, life stories, people we met in person - our Farmers, Artisans and Artists who bring their bottles into the homes of anyone who wishes to bring good, healthy products to the table every day.
Many of the ingredients we used daily in our kitchens only retain the name of the original product, but have lost their distinctive organoleptic, nutritional and culinary properties. This is because industrialized agriculture, intensive production and the overuse of chemical substances have pushed food farther and farther away from its true essence, which is deeply rooted in agriculture and nature. Fortunately however, there are still true, genuine, flavor-packed products carefully prepared by people who love themselves, their work and tasty food. Not all tomatoes are the same and, fortunately, not all differences have been erased by today’s rampant global standardization. At least for now, one is not as good as another and not all tomatoes are created equal.
Drawing on Velier's experience in selecting Triple “A” wines, we have developed specific protocols for sourcing and selecting every single ingredient in our virtual pantry. According to the protocols, each ingredient must be produced using no modern technology and without today's pressure to produce more and faster. They must be made with old traditional techniques and wisdom combined with today's knowledge and taste. For each product category we only selected ingredients meeting all of the requirements in the protocol.
So, for example, our Pantry tomato sauce is made from tomatoes grown using no pesticides, herbicides, PPPs or synthetic fertilizers; the tomatoes are grown from seeds of ancient varieties obtained through naturally occurring or manually controlled crossbreeding; the sauce is made from undamaged tomatoes harvested when optimally ripe, processed as soon as possible no later than 24 hours from harvesting; is made by processing raw tomatoes; is not chemically adjusted or stabilized; contains no preservatives of any kind; and is labelled specifying the date of harvest, processing and traceability of the entire production chain. Most importantly, what makes it unique is the rich fragrance of summer, of the countryside, of authentic ripe tomato that no industrial sauce will ever be able to replicate.
But we wanted to go even further. We wanted to do more. We did what we like to do for our own home. All of the products we have 'personally met' and that have passed the screening of our protocol have also been blind-tested by our expert tasters, because we wanted to bring you ingredients that aren't just the healthiest and most ethical but also the best, tastiest and most fragrant. For this reason, our Pantry tomato sauce is probably the best in the world in every respect. And so are all of the ingredients in this special selection designed for those who don't want to just stand by and watch while meaningful, nourishing, flavorful food disappears.
And we are only just getting started. We will continue tasting new products and searching for producers, farmers, artisans who wish to share with us the ingredients they make with their own hands, head and heart. New delicacies will gradually be added to each category, and new Pantry categories will be created to include a wider selection of ingredients.
After years of research, our Pantry is now online with the first selection of ingredients we have chosen for us and for you - products we have 'met personally' and wish to present to you as we are confident they will become must-haves in your kitchen as they have in ours. Welcome to our home! Welcome, Pantry!