As the Roman saying goes nil satis nisi optimum, meaning "nothing but the best is good enough."
This is certainly true when it comes to the way that Italians approach food.
Eating in Italy is a very serious business. Freshness, quality and tradition dictate everything, from produce to process, and this extends to the food that they share with the world. Alfina’s Sovrano is a curated collection of premium Italian products and cornerstone ingredients for a variety of Italian dishes.
Each ingredient within this range offers both quality and value. Unique ingredients with unique stories, and a preserved heritage that blends tradition with contemporary innovation in food production. This assures excellence, authenticity and the reliable integrity of these products.
At the beating heart of the range is grana padano cheese, canned tomato polpa and pizza sauces, and a selection of four exceptional Tipo 00 flours – all authentically Italian. These ingredients form the foundations for inspiring a kaleidoscope of possibilities, allowing you to explore the diverse regional cuisine of Italy, from wood fired pizzas to cucina raffinate.
Grana padano cheese originated in the Po Valley and has been produced since the 12th century. Initially made by monks at the Chiaravalle Abbey in Milan to utilise surplus milk production, known then as caseus vetus, meaning ‘old cheese’. As it gained popularity the name evolved to formaggio di grana, meaning ‘grainy cheese’, which describes the characteristic granular texture. In the 1950’s producers signed up to a European Dairy Convention that outlined the rules, guidelines and specific characteristics for naming these distinctive cheeses. From this ‘grana padano’ (padano meaning ‘from the Po Valley’) and ‘parmigiano reggiano’ (of Parma) were formally recognised. In 1996 grana padano obtained a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) recognition, which is a quality scheme that’s part of EU policy to promote and protect unique characteristics that are integral to the origin of the product, its reputation as linked to its region, and specific knowledge and traditional skills involved in production. Once recognised, products are granted a ‘geographical indication’ that designates the product as the intellectual property of its region.
Grana padano is a hard, semi-skim cheese with a crumbly texture and a rich flavour that’s nutty, sharp and full of umami. Aged for a minimum of 9 months to over 24 months, for varying flavour intensity. This cheese is produced from partially skimmed, raw cow’s milk, exclusively from the Pianura Padana production area that covers the regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Trentino, Veneto and Emilia Romagna. Once matured, at 9 months of ageing, each cheese is individually inspected by the Grana Padano Protection Consortium under stringent guidelines. If the cheese passes quality control, it is then fire branded. Without this branding it cannot be sold or marketed as grana padano.
A particularly versatile cheese that is suited to a wide range of uses. Whether it’s integrated into a dish as a pivotal base flavour, (such as sauces, stuffing, soufflés and dressings); or as a finishing note on sandwiches, salads, soups, pastas, risottos and pizza; or simply served as a stand-alone eating cheese with fruits and pastes. It’s, surprisingly, even well suited to use in desserts.
Italians have a knack for many things, but their ability to grow a fine tomato is without peer. Lucky, considering they consume more tomatoes every year than any other vegetable. The prevalence of tomato sauces and preserved tomatoes in Italian cuisine is rooted in nostalgic traditions – rituals where families would come together at peak harvest time to spend a day preparing homemade sauce (often from a closely guarded family recipe). Thankfully, modern technology has merged with tradition, creating one of Italy’s many beautiful gifts to the world: mass produced tomato sauces and canned sauces that capture the deliciousness of perfectly sun-ripened tomatoes without compromise, just like Nonna used to make. In fact, the cultivation, processing, and bottling or canning of tomatoes is one of Italy’s largest agricultural industries.
In the Alfina’s Sovrano range are classica, aromatizzata, and polpa. Harvested at the peak of their ripeness, in late July, the tomatoes arrive at the factory for processing within a couple of hours of harvesting. This direct processing is closely linked to traditional practices, ensuring production of the highest quality.
- Classica (166527)
A rich pizza sauce with a little added salt, the sauce is partially evaporated giving it a high Brix reading, which yields a greater intensity of flavour. Use as is for pizza or dilute with 30% water for sauces and casseroles.
- Aromatizzata (179709)
Rich and tasty, crushed tomatoes, slightly evaporated to thicken and enhance the flavour with fragrant notes of basil and oregano. Perfect as is for pizzas.
- Polpa (179710)
Juicy, finely chopped tomatoes with a higher liquid content – a versatile base for sauces, soup and braises.
The words of Sophia Loren, “everything you see, I owe to spaghetti”, kind of sum up the Italian perspective on carbs – it’s love. The notion of a low carb diet (or even a meal without bread) is sacrilegious to Italians due to their passionate love of bread, pasta and pizza, which means they have flour milling refined to a fine art. The Alfina’s Sovrano flours are produced by Augugiaro & Figna Molini S.P.A using the best quality wheat sourced from around the globe. The company represents the best of forward-thinking Italian industrial practices, born from the merger of two historic family milling companies. Giants of the industry who came together to create flour excellence through the integration of their respective decades of experience, using technology, research and innovation to produce classic Italian flours for a hungry global audience.
- Pasta Fresca (184449) Flour with low ash content suitable for fresh past production.
- Rinforzato (184338) – strengthened A soft wheat/medium protein flour, great for achieving good elasticity, perfect for everyday use (especially bread, focaccia and pizza).
- Pizza Napoletana (184336) A medium-high protein flour that is particularly elastic, suitable for producing pizza with a medium-long rising time and an airy puffy crust.
- Gold (184335) A high protein flour with maximum elasticity. It is excellent for direct doughs with long proving times or indirect doughs using pre-fermentation (e.g. poolish or biga).
Italians intuitively know how to achieve excellence in food – through reverence, attention to detail and embracing old and new. By upholding traditional processes, while simultaneously employing cutting-edge industrial techniques.
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