Summer is a hugely important time of the year for all of us at Saclà as we are in the pick of the basil season which runs from the end of June to the end of September – depending largely on how much sun and rain has kissed the fields in Piedmont.
In our world, basil is the king of fragrant herbs. We harvest tons of the stuff every year to create our aromatic pesto in lots of flavours and colours for you people everywhere to enjoy.
The basil plants are a heavily scented verdant variety with a wonderfully fresh zingy flavour and a top note of lemon. Just one visit to the Saclà basil fields is an unforgettable experience as the waft of acres and acres of fresh basil wraps around you.
The seeds are planted by the four handsome Amateis brothers in April, roughly two months before harvesting. The basil is then harvested in the early mornings before the sun gets too scorching. The brothers drive the equivalent of a basil combine harvester meticulously along thick rows of plants, often singing to themselves, whilst soaking up the glory of the deep Italian countryside.
The plants are never completely cut, they’re just ‘thinned out’. The same ones are then cropped every two weeks to let the smaller leaves grow. The heaps of freshly cut basil pile high on the back of the cutting machine before being returned to the farm for washing and packing into trays. They’re then taken along farm tracks for about half an hour, passing row after colourful row of sweetcorn, tomatoes and peppers and finally to basil HQ in Asti – the home of Saclà.
In Asti, Saclà HQ, there’s no time to waste as we pick and pack within 24 hours. That’s what makes the sauce so intense. Then the pesto magic starts with more washing, picking out the finest leaves and adding the pine nuts, garlic, oil, Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano cheese. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It’s a simple process but one that the Saclà family is deeply passionate about. And it’s also why our little jars stay at the number one spot in various markets around the world… So enjoy. And remember, life’s better with Saclà Pesto.