A trip to India and years of research to test recipes suitable for Mediterranean tastes have led to a project to create unique condiments that are still little known in European cuisine.
"We are not talking about sauces or pâtés, but about fruit and/or vegetable chutneys cooked in a sweet-and-sour syrup made up of sugar and apple vinegar and flavored with spices. There are numerous variants of this product, depending on who prepares it," reported Nicoletta Croxatto and Gabriele Paglione, respectively sole administrator and production manager at GiardiGiò.
GiardiGiò processes products in the company facility in Riccò del Golfo (Liguria), an oasis for organic cultivation and sustainable tourism between Golfo dei Poeti and the Cinque Terre riviera. The range includes chutneys, giardiniera pickles, compotes and jams made with Italian vegetables, fruits, aromatic herbs and spices.
Chutneys are made mainly with spices (ginger, saffron, cumin, turmeric, chili pepper), fruits (mangos, coconuts, apples, pears, peaches) and vegetables (squash, tomatoes, beetroots, carrots).
The GiardiGiò line features five flavors with exotic names - Amal (onion, apple and ginger chutney), Hari (pepper and mustard seed chutney), Maya (carrot and cumin chutney), Salman (squash, cinnamon and chili pepper chutney), Samir (cauliflower and chili pepper chutney) available in the 100 and 200 g formats and, upon request, in large formats up to 3 kg for the H&R segment.
Giardiniera pickles, compotes and jams are all made using raw materials from local cooperatives or producers. Gabriele uses his flair and creativity to produce a line of high-end products with an unmistakable flavor.
As for compotes, we are not talking about a classic breakfast line, as the pear and saffron combination works mainly paired off with fresh or mature cheeses.
"My passion has become a project, which turned into reality when I met Nicoletta, who is also fascinated by exotic flavors and colors. This is how the first jams were made, created using fruit and spices to experiment with unusual flavors. We then looked for a laboratory and raw materials that worked with our willingness to discover new flavors and experiment with new ideas, pairings and recipes. Then there are also broths, dried products, preserves and much more."
Chutneys in Italy are an innovative product that attracts mainly younger people. They originally come from India and are very popular in English-speaking countries. Chutneys can contain up to 15 ingredients including vegetables and/or fruits and a mix of spices, including cloves, garlic, coriander, mustard, cinnamon, ginger, Cayenne pepper, tamarind and mint.
"The Indian tradition sees all the ingredients pressed together to form a mix. We use vegetable chunks and variants that are more in line with Mediterranean flavors. The French also use them a lot with cheese, meats and appetizers. They are a condiment for main dishes - whether meat or rice based - and for vegetables."
The addition of sugar and apple vinegar conveys a sweet-and-sour flavor, but the prevalence of one element means there can be both savory and sweet chutneys. GiardiGiò has come up with variants for the Mediterranean market with fewer spices.
"We are working on expanding the range with other pairings for the Mediterranean market such as: leek, fennel and prices, red beetroot and oranges, tomatoes and apples. We also have in mind a sort of sauce as an alternative to traditional tomato puree," concluded Nicoletta Croxatto.