January 27, 2023

Taste Test: Posh Pestos from @PurelyPesto

Pesto! Who does not enjoy a bowl of pasta with some of the great sauce from Liguria? Italy has given the world some stunning foods, and pesto is up there with the best of them. Traditionally made around Genova it has a basic recipe of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese. However different flavoured pestos are now available and for our latest Taste Test we have been sampling pestos from Purely Pesto.

Purely pestosmall

We have sampled three pestos – Basil, Tarragon and Sundried tomato. All come in 170g cartons and are handmade by chefs in Suffolk, UK.

First up was the most traditional – the Basil pesto. This is the nearest to the ancient Roman moretum, from which Ligurian pesto developed. It has an attractive green colour enhanced by darker pieces of basil leaves – indeed there is 12% basil in the recipe. This pesto is mild and nutty, reflecting the use of cashew nuts rather than pine nuts. Both traditional olive oil and rapeseed oil are used in this sauce, which has been less processed than many commercial pestos and retains a pleasant bite from the nuts and a creaminess from the large pieces of cheese. It was rich and coated the pasta well.

The Tarragon pesto was a more out there flavour that no one had tasted before. This had a similar recipe to the Basil, substituting the 12% Basil for 12% Tarragon. As you may know, Tarragon is an acquired taste and the tasters split down predictable lines, those liking the aniseed flavours voting it delicious and those less keen withholding judgement. The tarragon gave the pesto a perfume and subtle aniseed tang which the pro-tarragon camp deemed nice for a change. It had the same bite and crunch as the Basil pesto, giving a bowl of pasta an unusually fulsome and pleasant texture.

Several of the tasters approached the Sun dried tomato pesto expecting it to be their favourite. It was a pretty orange and red colour which spoke of the tasting delights to come. It really did have a tomato punch, with a cheesy, nutty undertone. One taster thought this was the more ordinary of the three, but others thought it the best.

So which did we like best overall? Traditionalists in the tasting group went for the Basil. One vote was for the Tarragon, which was completely different to anything tasted before. Several preferred the Sundried tomato. I had the casting vote and decided on…Basil. Overall these pestos are delicious, aesthetically pleasing, with a texture that makes them extra-special.


More information is available from the Purely Pesto website

Disclosure : We were testing review samples send to The Flaneur. This does not affect our opinions which remain impartial.

If you would like your products to be reviewed by The Flaneur please email foodeditor@flaneur.me.uk 

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