Gracious, whatever is the Daily Spud coming to? Not only do we have Spud-Sunday-on-a-Monday again (oops, yes, too much out-and-abouting by the blogger-in-chief will do that) but what’s all of this pasta and pesto business? Never fear, I am still a spud lover at heart (as if you doubted it for a second) and I promise that the pasta, pesto and potatoes will all live quite happily together in the end.

I finally did it.

I threw out the three sad, barely alive basil plants that have been languishing on my windowsill for months. It was really the only course of action, having been, not six days ago, to see the lush green basil fields of Alessandria in Italy. Even in their prime, no basil grown on my windowsill was ever likely to compare.

Basil leaves

Basil, the not-on-my-windowsill Italian kind

I did consider scooping up a truckload of Italian basil to bring back with me (and it would have been some fun trying to explain that one to the customs officers if I’d had), but, in the end, I settled for the fact that, until such time as I restock my windowsill with new basil plants, I can at least take myself to the nearest supermarket and buy a jar (or several) of pesto made from that Italian basil, and no passport required. Indeed, it was pesto and specifically Saclà – who produce a whopping 40 million jars of the stuff every year, or around 150,000 jars per day – which had brought me to northern Italy and the basil fields in the first place.

Basil fields

Basil, basil everywhere:
fields of basil on the Amateis farm in the province of Alessandria in northern Italy - the Amateis family have been supplying basil and other leaf vegetables to Saclà since the 1980s

Continue reading