"We produce a wide range of processed products with fresh raw materials. This means we do not use semi-processed products, which makes a lot of difference when it comes to health and flavor! Processing freshly-harvested raw material, especially from certified organic crops, represents our trump card," explains Simonetta Ciarlo, owner of family company Mediterranea Belfiore.
"We work with Tuscan tomatoes and Tuscan Morello artichokes according to seasonal availability, i.e. without forcing the natural cycles."
Mediterranea Belfiore is a company founded by Donato Belfiore and currently run by Simonetta, Emiliana and Antonella Ciarlo with the help of their mother Renza.
"Our father Donato set up the business in 1952 and chose to grow tomatoes on our family's estate, which the company (located in the Livorno province) is named after."
"When many producers abandoned agriculture because it was no longer profitable, my father set up a liquor factory alongside the traditional business. This enabled him to acquire experience that was useful when he decided to create a laboratory to produce tomato preserves in 1947."
The range includes fresh tomato sauce and a line of ready sauces: arrabbiata, olive sauce, bell pepper sauce , eggplant sauce, "Pomo e Pesto" (tomato juice and tomato flesh, mature Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, pine nuts and garlic), "Rugiadosa", "Rustichella" (with onion, carrot and celery) and "Rustichella piccante".
For the lovers of simple traditional flavors, tomato strips are available in 550, 680, 1,450 gram and 3 Kg tins.
The selection of raw materials is performed with great attention and is followed by processing at low thermal shock with no additives. As regards tomato-based products, the batch contains a progressive number from 1 to 365 where 1 is January 1st and 365 is December 31st.
"Harvesting occurs in summer, between late July and early October, depending on the varieties. Once harvested, the produce is processed in just a few hours, so the numbers between 190 and 290 confirm that the product is really fresh."
Morello artichokes are recognized as PAT (a traditional product from Tuscany) and they are small, with an oblong shape and a distinctive flavor. Mediterranea Belfiore uses them to produce organic spreads and puts them in oil.
"Jars part of the 'I sapori della famiglia Ciarlo' line are packaged manually. Trimming is the only operation performed with a machine, then they are leafed manually, cooked briefly in water and vinegar and placed in glass jars filled with extra-virgin olive oil."
"Our creativity, stimulated by what is available seasonally, leads to new products that complete the range, including: grilled vegetables, bell peppers, eggplants, zucchini, olives, mushrooms and mixed vegetables in oil, sweet and sour or chili pickled vegetables and vegetable spreads made with natural organic ingredients."
Mediterranea Belfiore products are available in specialist stores, delicatessen, organic stores in Italy as well as abroad in Germany, Scandinavia, Japan and Australia.