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How Agrimontana Makes Italy’s Best Jams

20 July 2023
by Giadzy
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Agrimontana has been working with Italy's most dedicated farmers for over 50 years to create jams that are beloved by chefs everywhere.

It’s no secret that we love jam. It can be an ingredient in dishes both sweet and savory. It can elevate the simplest piece of plain toast or a luscious bowl of gelato. It’s pure summer flavor caught up in one little jar—kitchen alchemy at its finest. Nobody understands the power of jam better than the geniuses at Agrimontana, a Piemonte company that’s been making our favorite jams and preserves since 1972.

agrimontana jams in a crostata

Their secret is using perfectly ripe, ultra-fresh fruit. Unlike many other jam companies, which prioritize quantity over quality and make up for underripe fruit by simply adding more sugar, Agrimontana works directly with Italian farmers to ensure their harvest only takes up that fruit that’s at its peak ripeness. “We are very patient,” says a spokesperson for the company. Thanks to longstanding agreements with small family farmers—some of which go back decades and have been passed from father to son—the Agrimontana team is prepared to wait until every single fruit is at the peak of perfection and not a moment sooner, even if it means they make less jam overall than their competitors.

The company was started by Cesare Bardini, a Piemonte local who was fanatical about the bounty of his home region in northern Italy. Starting with the abundant local chestnuts, he became known as the go-to source for the most delicious preserves in the area, and he turned that local fame into a company that has been growing ever since. Today, Agrimontana sources their fruit from across Italy—citrus from Amalfi, white figs from Cilento—but the philosophy and insistence on quality remains as intense as ever. After Cesare’s death, management of the company passed to his brother, Enrico, who now runs it with his two children, Luigi and Chiara. The latter is known within the company as the “knight protector of taste,” and she spends a good deal of time traveling to the orchards and farms to check on the peaches, plums, apricots, and other fruits to ensure they taste just right.

Agrimontana
Courtesy of Azienda Agrimontana

 

And just as the harvest is carefully managed by human hands, so is the process of turning that precious fruit into preserves. Agrimontana’s jams are cooked at a lower temperature using minimal sugar and no commercial additives, so the process must be carefully watched. Delicate candied fruits and chestnuts are all handled like precious gems, sorted and measured by skilled artisans who would never trust such important work to machinery.

That’s why Agrimontana recently achieved the extremely difficult, internationally recognized BRC certification, and why their products are used by top chefs across Italy and in the U.S. Their candied fruits are used in the best panettones, and they train gelato makers from across the country at their workshop in Borgo San Dalmazzo. And the jam, of course, can’t be beat! Check out all the incredible Agrimontana products we carry in the Giadzy store to taste it for yourself.

 

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