P is for Pesto: My day with the Pesto King

Few things come to mind when I hear pesto: green sauce, Italy (Liguria and Genoa to be exact), and… World Championship? I know what you’re thinking. How exactly can pesto be the subject of a world championship? Before entering the wonderful world of Italy’s Best Foods at Gustiamo in the Bronx, I would have been just as skeptical as you; however, I can say without a doubt that spending last Monday with Roberto Panizza at the New York qualifier for the Genoa Pesto World Championship turned me “green” with… pesto!

Pesto Rossi
Roberto Panizza, Pesto King

Roberto Panizza hails from the birthplace of modern pesto, Genoa, where he manages Rossi, a third-generation family business. His company specializes in the production and sale of high-quality culinary products. Steeped in family tradition and pride, Roberto offers products that speak to the very best of Italian cuisine, the most precious being his Pesto alla Genovese. Rossi pesto contains 7 traditional ingredients all produced in Italy: DOP Basil from Genova, Ligurian EV Olive Oil, Slow Food protected Garlic, Sea Salt from Trapani, and the 3 Ps (Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Sardo and Pine Nuts). Roberto’s initiatives have even recently landed him a prize from Baker Tilly Revisa, an Italian economic watchdog, for all his aforementioned successes. Bravo Roberto!

Pesto Rosi in NYC
The Championship!

So just how exactly did this pesto contest work? Of course, all of the 7 sacred ingredients were used, but here’s the catch: contestants may only use a mortar and pestle. What a shock to us New Yorkers.. I don’t think participants could have succeeded in a “New York minute”! After all participants had crafted their pestos, Roberto led judges in the “degustazione,” or tasting and judging. I might as well have been a judge myself as I anxiously sampled all of the glorious green sauce that I could =). Each participant produced wonderful pesto and two winners were crowned, and having been spoiled with Roberto’s own pesto I have to say: I can’t wait for it to be back at Gustiamo!

Gustiamo Pesto
Pesto Rossi

Join me on the waitlist for Roberto’s wonderful Pesto alla Genovese here and be the first on your block with the royal pesto.

Grazie mille Roberto, e torna presto!

By: Eddie DS (@EdoDalSanto)

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