It dawned on me the other day that I am an avid consumer of tomatoes. In our house they’re a salad staple (a certain someone even made a multi-coloured tomato-only salad the other day), I obsessively stockpile the tinned ones because you never know when you’ll need to rustle up the go-to pasta dish, and I’ve been known to squirt T-sauce on a lot of things. This epiphany came to me as I was sitting in the dimly lit downstairs dining room of Obica, listening to someone talk about tomatoes and actually getting excited. Hand on my heart, I don’t even care how lame that made me sound because these tomatoes are worth that cringey look you’re giving me now.
Every month Obica select a slow food product to showcase, this month (and next actually, probably because they’re so good) tomatoes are in the spotlight. Piennolo Cherry Tomatoes, to be exact, which are grown organically in Mount Vesuvius National Park. That makes them sound just that little bit fancy doesn’t it? Obica combined the tomatoes with their Italian partners in crime, mozzarella and salami, then invited Luxardo to the party to mix up some cocktails; the result?! A very happy tomato lover in the room.
Our ‘New Season Feast’ included pizzas such as the Acciughe di Cetara e Tonno, Treccina e Pomodori del Piennolo, and Bresaola, all with tomatoes. Cheese fans were salivating at the sight of the 1kg ball of mozzarella and the platters of creamy burrata and smokey affumicata. To accompany the mozzarella were boards full of meats such as Soppressata di Gioi, Salame di Mora Romagnola, and Capicollo di Azze Anca, and sides of freshly baked foccacia, pesto and… fresh tomatoes!
As with any feast, the food seemed to be endless. I lost track of the number of times I filled up my little plate, each time right to the edge with a different combination of cheese, meat and dip. While I loved the sheer novelty to slicing off a bit of mozzarella from the huge ball, my favourite tasting cheese was the affumicata – this smoked variety of mozzarella was completely new to me. An honourable mention has to go to the garlic-less, but still flavoursome, pesto which I drizzled over almost everything.
Luxardo’s master mixologist even served up a cocktail with, you guessed it, tomatoes, and it was certainly not a Bloody Mary. In fact, the Obica Spritz made from Luxardo Aperitivo, Peinnolo tomatoes, prosecco, lemon juice, ground pepper and basil was my highlight of the night.
I’ll admit I was a little hesitant when it was described to us but all my doubts faded after the first sip – sweet, slightly fizzy and gloriously pink… this ticks all my cocktail boxes!
We were also served a refreshing Luxardo Fresco when we arrived, a Fashionista of Luxardo Sangue Morlacco cherry liqueur, rye whiskey, Campari and smoked mozzarella water with our dessert of Torta di capri, before finishing the night with a Venetian Christmas. As a non-coffee drinker, this combination of an Americano with Luxardo Sangue Morlacco cherry liqueur, spice and double cream was a little too much for me but I imagine for coffee junkies this really would be Christmas come early!
And with that sharp wake up call, it was time to exit the tomato-mozzarella haven and head home with a bag full of goodies which included a jar of beautiful Peinnolo tomatoes from Obica and a jar of the addictively delicious Maraschino cherries from Luxardo!
Now the tricky part will be deciding what to make with them for my very own new season feast… a simple pasta with the tomatoes tossed through and topped with basil? My own version of the Obica Spritz? Perhaps I better pay Obica another visit for more inspiration… it’s all for research purposes of course!
Check out the Obica website for more information about their menu and Slow Food Products of the month, and if that tomato cocktail appealed to you, get in there soon as it’s only available for the next couple of months!
I was a guest of Obica and Luxardo but as always, all opinions are mine, mine and mine alone!