Fratelli Contorno Products Review

fratellicontornoFratelli Contorno is a brand specialized in Sicilian goodies: from typical starter as ‘Caponata’ to different pasta sauces. They offer a wide range of products; in this picture from left to right: 1. Cherry tomatoes sauce, 2.Swordfish and eggplant sauce, 3.sardines sauce( two different sizes),wild fennel sauce, artichoke caponatina. You can also check out their official website to look other products they offer. For most of their products you can find different sizes: from very small portion: for 1 max 2 people, to very big jars for 4-6 people.

Here  you can find their official website( both in English and Italian): http://www.fratellicontorno.com/english/

How do they taste? They do taste quite close to the original recipes, however not completely the same. They are a good approximation to a homemade recipe. As I will show later in this blog, I do use their products,but I always add my personal touch to make them as close as I can to a fresh sauce. To whom live far away from Italy, some ingredients are very seldom available: like swordfish, cuttlefish ink, celery or artichokes, so they really help you to recreate those recipe otherwise impossible to make.

How is the quality? Compared to other brands that offer similar half-ready to go products I find the quality very high. The ingredients used are genuine and natural, no colorants added, no chemical stuff inside. Usually you only find a very little amount of sugar or salt as last ingredients ( so very low percentage), in order to preserve the taste and acidity level. In some recipe they also use olive oil, which is quite rare for these kind of products.

Here an example of ingredients used in ‘Swordfish and eggplant sauce’(jar 2 from left to right):Tomato, swordfish (20 %), eggplant (20 %), sunflower oil, white wine, extra virgin olive oil, capers, garlic, mint, sugar, salted sardines puree, salt, chilli.

Packaging: I really like the packing style, very Italian, with bright color, but mostly I have to say: their cans and glass jars are very sturdy!If you’re traveling inside EU, as I do, you can board them easily.For me it’s a tradition to bring home some of their stuff for the next months when I get nostalgic of my hometown, and they’ve never cracked or damaged!

frat_contorno02

Where can you buy them? They are very easy to find in any good quality supermarket, not only in Sicily but in whole Italy. Also, some of their products are sold in USA but under a different brand name: “Cuoco“.

How much do they cost? The price can fluctuate very much. I would say from 1 up to 5 € for big jar ( around 400 gr of caponata). I also find that they can be quite often on sale or promotion ( for example I’ve often found cherry tomatoes sauce for 0,89 cent pro bottle), so watch out!

Vote: A–

For me, overall they are all good products, none of them let me disappointed. I have to say that I’ve still not tried the whole range ( for example mushrooms,tomato concentrate nor pesto etc..)That’s why I don’t speak up with a full A. My only regret is that you can’t find them in the rest of EU! Definitely I suggest to buy one of their products as souvenir from Sicily, so you could recreate for your friends or family some original Sicilian recipe you ate there :))

*All opinions are genuinely my own. I am not affiliated or paid by the company*

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Review: Naturaktiv vollkorn/whole Pasta

pastaNaturaktiv is a brand sold here in Austria inside Hofer supermarkt, called Aldi in the rest of the world. ( here you can see all local store: http://www.aldi.com/?aldiurl=true ).

Differently from the other bio brand sold there, this pasta is really affordable: 500 gr ( a regular pack ) is usually on offer for 89 cent € . Of course, it is quite expensive if compared to regular pasta, but I think it’s a good compromise for durum grain pasta. According to description presented in the pack, this pasta comes from a biologically controlled farming from Italy,(So yes, I am double happy of it:P ) without GEN modification and Arge Bio standard controlled , ( which is a quality assurance on organic food here in Austria).DSCN1163 DSCN1161As all durum grain pasta it takes more time to be cooked ( around 9 minutes), but the consistency remains solid, unstuck, perfectly al dente! From a nutrition point of you, it contains for the same amount 200 gr only 229 kcal, way less than regular white grain pasta,  as less sugar and fat. In 200 gr of product you have 21% percent of natural fiber, which is good, isn’t it?

I have to say that I usually don’t find a lot of sorting; so far I’ve seen only spaghetti, fusilli, farfalle and penne. I strongly doubt any other types are available, but I am quite lucky, those are my favorite formats of pasta.

If you find it on offer, I strongly recommend you to try these goodies out!