The flavour tester
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Sergio Monotti lives on the outskirts of the town of Terni in Umbria. His hometown is also called the "city of lovers" because Saint Valentine is said to have been born here. Mr Monotti is always in love, not only with his wife and family, but also with good food. He knows very well to have a fine, selective palate and has been pampering it even more since he retired.
"I am always on the lookout for new, revealing flavours, which I then eagerly collect and integrate into my food with relish," says Monotti.
The expert geometer has travelled Italy for many years and continues to do so today. The focus is always on getting to know the local flavours and culinary specialities. Geography and the "taste of the territory" are an inseparable unit for him. Back home, the feeling of wanderlust sets in right on time. But Mr Monotti knows how to fight it. He brings his culinary favourites home by post. He orders the red oranges in Sicily, the Parmigiano Reggiano in Emilia and the best apples in Val Venosta. He already spent several holidays there in the 1980s and gave in to the temptation of the aromatic mountain apple without resistance. He regularly seeks out the slow-growing mountain fruit on the Umbrian supermarket fruit shelves. Since the coveted fruit can also be ordered online and he can select the desired varieties in the Val Venosta online shop at the click of a mouse, this purchase channel has grown close to his heart. He regularly orders what he calls the "gold pack" of 4 kg each. It is always delivered to him on time and usually even a day earlier than promised by courier. "The apples are so beautifully packaged that you would think there was gold inside!“
As soon as the lucky package from Val Venosta arrives, the taste journey begins. Mr Monotti and his wife Rita know how they want to use the Val Venosta apple in their cooking.
"With its juiciness and light acidity, the apple goes well with almost everything. In almost every main course, not in the starter!", Sergio emphasises.
In general, Sergio and his wife Rita use little salt in the kitchen. The salt drowns out the original taste of the food, but the two want to feel it fully. They don't want to jeopardise the "authenticity of the territory" unnecessarily. For example, grilled central Italian steak goes well with wafer-thin slices of the Val Venosta apple variety Kissabel. This is accompanied by fresh oven bread made with ancient flours and drizzled with a little local extra virgin olive oil and garlic.
"The apple slices take a central role in the taste experience. Their juiciness, when combined with the meat, creates a new flavour that feels tingly fresh. As soon as this effect slowly subsides, you continue with another bite of meat, add apple slices and bread again and the cycle of conscious flavour enjoyment begins anew!"
The apple not only guarantees a third taste, but also neutralises the palate between the individual bites so that the versatility of the flavours can explode again in full force. It is, so to speak, enjoyment with intervals, whereby the intervals through the delicious apple slices form the prelude to the next cycle of enjoyment.
In this way, every "normal" meal becomes a feast that is only successful through the finest selection of the really best ingredients. This is how Sergio pairs the Val Venosta apple with many other specialities of his homeland: with "bruschetta", pecorino cheese, local roast specialities and many other Umbrian dishes and ingredients. The declared gourmet also reveals his combinations to friends and relatives, whom he regularly delights with them. The fact that he brags a little about his knowledge is part of the nature of things. After all, tolerating his sensory superiority is the price one has to pay for his free tips of the highest quality.
"We have to work to live, not live to work! I am now retired and can indulge my nature as a gourmet even more than before."
In doing so, Mr. Monotti takes a lot of time to check out the many small producers of Italian quality products with test deliveries "on demand". He orders, tries out, assesses the quality of the product and the delivery service, then makes his choice.
With the Val Venosta "gold deliveries", which come from the small Val Venosta farms, everything worked right away. He has known the mountain apple for decades, and the cooperative's delivery service has proven to be of the same high standard. "They seem to be a clock up there!" emphasises Sergio.
The customer support from the central cooperative, the punctual and intact delivery of the premium product and the product description that corresponds 100% to the product delivered...that's where the joy comes in.
"A great service that matches the quality of the Val Venosta mountain apple. The apple grows slowly, the delivery service is fast and the enjoyment is in slow food mode. That's how I love it!"
Soon the next parcel of exquisite apples, which grow on both sides of the Adige riverbank, will set off for Umbria. There, the finest local flavours are waiting to combine with them. The territory around the banks of the Tevere and the river Nera gives birth to them, and Sergio Monotti is a true master at marrying these two worlds sensorially.