Piennolo, tomatoes from the Volcano

We are reporting back from a memorable week in Campania, where we finally got to hang out with some of our favorite people, our farmers. Did you follow our trip on IG stories?

Farmer Pasquale and his mamma Anna welcomed us on their fields, right at the foot of Vesuvio. This corner south of Napoli is the cradle of an agricultural treasure. Mineral, tangy, sweet Piennolo tomatoes. We asked Pasquale: what is so special about this area?

“Mount Vesuvio is a volcano. Its soil is very rich in minerals, sulfur, and potassium. Plus, the salty breeze from the Mediterranean sea is a natural preservative that gives a unique aroma to everything growing here.”

If he had to describe his tomatoes to someone who has never tasted a Piennolo, Pasquale would have no doubts:

“The flavor of Piennolo tomatoes is so intense that even the simplest dishes will make you go for a scarpetta.”

With thick skins and a meaty pulp that starts sweet and ends on a bitter note, Piennolo are a Neapolitan cuisine’s staple ingredient. Their surprisingly tart fruitiness makes them the absolute game changer on bruschetta and pizza.

If you ask us, these heirloom tomatoes have such a distinctive personality, that we would simply eat them out of the jar with a drizzle of EVOO + pinch of sea salt. As close as a fresh Pomodoro Napoletano as it gets!