Tucked away in a rural corner of Levin is a secret that not many people know. This is where the family run Genoese factory produces fresh basil pesto. The basil is grown on the family farm in Fiji, where the warm tropical climate ensures a year round crop, and the hand picked herbs are flown into New Zealand twice weekly.
I had arranged to take our SLG friends for a factory tour and we were welcomed by Ron, the “founding father” of the company. Before we could enter the food preparation part of the factory, we had to comply with Health and Safety regulations and don hairnets. In Robin’s case, he needed another one to cover his beard.
Pesto is a traditional recipe made from fresh basil leaves, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts. The fresh basil is put through the washing process several times to ensure it is perfectly clean, before moving on to the next step of the process.
The parmesan cheese arrives in large blocks and need to be finely grated before being added to the mixture..
The ingredients are mixed in the correct proportions of basil, olive oil, cheese and pine nuts and come out the other end packaged in pots of delicious fresh bright green pesto.
At the end of our tour we were invited for a tasting. We tried the original pesto, which we were assured, is delicious on pasta, potatoes, meat, fish and chicken, in fact, you are limited by your imagination. Do check on the company website here to get ideas on how to use this product. The company also makes a chunky pesto dip, a tomatoe dip, and olive tapenade. All delicious and we made sure we gave them all a thorough “taste test”.
It was a very interesting tour and my knowledge has expanded from someone who didn’t even know what basil looked like to someone who is now a convert to pesto! Thanks very much to Ron and his team at Genoese for a very interesting insight into the manufacture of basil pesto.