The Taste Test: Pesto

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 5:09pm

Pesto alla Genovese
HK$60 for 130 grams, City'super

Originating in the northern Italian city of Genoa, pesto got its name from pestâ, the Genoese word for "to pound" or "to crush" - which is traditionally how this sauce is made. This organic version from Italy contains 45 per cent basil and 44 per cent extra virgin olive oil.
Verdict: the most oily and salty of the three, the coarsely minced basil leaves provide a very strong herby flavour.


Gastronomia Toscana Pesto Genovese Tradizionale
HK$60 for 150 grams, City'super

Made in Tuscany, Italy, this fresh pesto has a shelf life of only 30 days - but if it even lasts that long in your fridge I'd be amazed (it certainly didn't in mine). Made with extra virgin olive oil (38 per cent) and basil (26 per cent), and speckled with pine nuts (12 per cent) and parmesan and pecorino cheeses.
Verdict: full-bodied flavour, good consistency and not too oily. My favourite of all the products.


Buitoni Reduced Fat Pesto with Basil
HK$69.50 for 198 grams, City'super

This American version of the Italian classic isn't too traditional. It contains 34 per cent less fat than regular pesto (17 grams vs 26 grams per 62 gram serving) and has a thicker, creamier consistency more akin to a spread or dip than a sauce.
Verdict: the least salty and oily of the three, and with a strong parmesan flavour.