A blog full of food with a little craftyness thrown in!

Antonio Carluccio and Cirio Tomatoes

You’re going to be so jealous when I tell you what I got up to last night… 

At the Institute of Good Housekeeping Dining Rooms in Soho, London, I attended an event to celebrate the 160th anniversary of Cirio Italian Tomatoes and tasted some delicious food. That’s cool enough in itself for a foodie like me, but it gets better… Who was cooking them? Only the legend that is ANTONIO CARLUCCIO OBE. I was truly star struck and he was every bit as sensational as I imagined. A true foodie and the godfather of Italian food here in the UK.

He was every bit as charming, funny, passionate and knowledgeable as I imagined him to be from watching him on TV and I am SO glad I went to meet him.

As I said, we were there to celebrate that Cirio have been canning/bottling/sieving tomatoes for 160 years now. That seems incredible to me and they surely must have been at the forefront of modern ‘convenience’ foods and food preservation in general.

I love Cirio tomatoes and will already buy them when I can. If they’re good enough for Antonio, then they’re definitely good enough for me! One of the questions asked of him at the end of his demo was ‘Why should we buy Cirio when we can get supermarket own-brand tomatoes at a fraction of the cost?’ His answer was simple; quality. “Sometimes,” he said “you just need to accept you need to pay more to get the very best.” Amen to that, Antonio!

He demonstrated two dishes from the cookbook he’s developed to celebrate the anniversary. The first, Pappa Al Pomodoro, is a soup made with bread and served cold. I’m not a fan of cold soups at all and was expecting this to be disgusting but in actual fact it was delicious! So much so, I’m definitely making it myself at home ASAP.

The second was Cozze Alla Tarantina; mussels cooked simply in white wine then added to a tomato sauce. I didn’t try this as I’m not keen on mussels but again the room was raving about it and I have no doubt it was delicious!

If you’d like the recipes for these dishes, you can find the recipe book here.

I even managed to get this image of Antonio looking as if he’s showing us a little dance. He wasn’t, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. That’s the kind of fun and light-hearted character he is!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into my evening with Antionio Carluccio and Cirio; remember me when you’re next buying tomatoes at the supermarket. To paraphrase Antonio, some things are worth paying that little bit more for!

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Cirio event with Antonio Carluccio free of charge. However, I wasn’t asked to write a positive review and all opinions are my own. I wasn’t commissioned to write this post, but I did because I wanted to share what a fabulous time I had!

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