Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pestos with Panache

Pesto is the past participle of the Italian verb pestare, which means to crush or bruise. (On a side note, an occhio pesto is a black eye.) So technically speaking, in the kitchen, a pesto can be any combination of things that are crushed or bruised.


There is a very specific crushed concoction that has simply co-opted the generic meaning of pesto: a sauce from Genoa made with basil, garlic, nuts, Parmesan and olive oil. Food editors and recipe writers love to tinker with this idea—cilantro instead of basil, walnuts instead of pignoli—but they rarely stray too far from the mother ship.

So, it's really great to run into Pestos with Panache, a collection of sauces that have nicely pushed the pesto envelope. The titles of the pestos from Brooklyn-based Lauren Stewart (founder & CEO) are enough to make you want to try them, but luckily the promise of the titles is well delivered in the tasting.

Don't you just want to eat all of these?
Fabulous Fig & Gorgonzola
Decadent Dark Chocolate & Ancho Chile
Pumpkin Chipotle
Prosciutto & Smoked Almond
Succulent Strawberry
Bangin' Blueberry

You can buy them straight from Pestos with Panache in 4, 6, 8, and 12 packs for $52 (4 pack) up to $120 for the 12 pack. The prices include shipping. (And if you happen to be planning a giant feast, Lauren also sells 1-gallon food service containers; contact her for pricing.) To see where the pestos are available offline, check the list of stores.

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