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CASA BARONE

lies on the slopes of Mount Somma, the original volcano whose eruptions gave rise to the cone of the Vesuvio. The crops are spread over land that was crossed by lava during the 1944 Vesuvius eruption. Among dry-stone walls, terraced terrains, brooms and the underspread presence of Mediterranean scrub are alternating vineyards, fruit and olive trees. The "Pomodorino del Piennolo" (Vesuvius Piennolo Cherry Tomato) is grown where the orchard is sparser.

Traditional Piennolo Cherry Tomato Preserve PDO
In the old days, a popular practice in the Vesuvian area was to make conserva di pomodorini, or cherry tomato preserve, in glass jars or bottles. The tomatoes were filleted lengthwise (into 'pacchetelle') and painstakingly pushed into bottles. While it was being filled, the bottom of the bottle was frequently thumped on a rolled-up cloth to help settle the fillets (to avoid the tomatoes over-reducing when the bottles were boiled and thus creating air pockets). The bottles were then corked and fastened before being boiled in large cauldrons for about an hour. Casa Barone still produces the Traditional Piennolo Cherry Tomato Preserve: the ripest tomatoes, picked around the end of July, are left to 'dry out' in wooden boxes until the end of August. Then they are processed and inserted by hand into jars, sealed with screw-on tops, and finally pasteurised using modern technology.

Official website Casa Barone

 Vesuvius Piennolo Cherry Tomatoes website

The Piennolo Cherry Tomato owes its name to the Vesuvian farming tradition of braiding the bunches of cherry tomatoes around a piece of string tied in a ring, so as to make a large bunch (the piennolo), which is hung in a dry and ventilated place. The tomatoes can thus be picked off the piennolo as required during the following months. This preservation technique has been handed down to the present time because it allows consuming fresh tomatoes even after the summer season. Thanks to its exceptional qualities, the piennolo cherry tomato has been recognized as a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). The tomatoes are grown in non-irrigated land and have particularly thick skin, both factors that favor the preservation throughout the winter and, in ideal circumstances, right up to the Easter following the harvest. The Vesuvius Piennolo Cherry Tomato has a tick, almost crunchy, skin, and a very firm and compact flesh with a low water content. Its exceptional taste is due to a wonderful combination of sugary substances and mineral salts. Subsequently, the tomatoes acquire a slightly bitter aftertaste from being preserved in the piennoli. The area for the cultivation of the piennolo cherry tomato covers all the municipalities within the perimeter of the Vesuvius National Park lying at an altitude ranging between 150 and 450 metres above sea level. All the agricultural processes (transplanting, farming, weeding, harvesting, etc.) are carried out by hand because of the uneven and terraced terrain, which hinders mechanization. As there is no irrigation, the yields are very low, not exceeding 10 tons/ha. Finally, the Slow Food association has created a presidium to safeguard the piennolo cherry tomato, as well for other traditional high-quality products.
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