Slow Food Upstate

Supporting Good, Clean and Fair Food

"Sensational" Tomato Tasting and dinner at Ristorante Bergamo

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Sunday July 25, 2010 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
100 North Main St., Greenville, SC 29601  (map)



“Sensational” tomatoes

Sunday, July 25, 2010, 6:30 pm

Ristorante Bergamo, 100 North Main St. Greenville, SC 29601

A Slow Food Upstate “Tasting” and Dinner to benefit our new grants program.


For Tickets, click here.


A sink your teeth Slow Food Upstate tasting discovery of the individual qualities of some of the freshest organically grown gems, rare and not so rare varieties, prepared in foods, and also tasted on their own.

Get your tickets here.


Sink your teeth into a Black Cherry tomato, drenched by the summer sun, sweetly rich and intricately complex, and allow the juices to roll onto the tongue in a swirl of irresistible delicious pleasure. Tomatoes, the red pearls and oysters of the garden, burst with tangy goodness in your mouth. So many diverse variations to taste, so much flavor to discover, you won’t want to miss this!  Tickets available July 1st to Slow Food Upstate members, July 2nd to non-members.


“Sensational” tomatoes, the first in a series of tastings presented by Slow Food Upstate, and sponsored by OrangeCoat gourmet web design, and Parson Organic Produce, takes a leisurely stroll through the world of distinct tastes to delight and educate your sophisticated palette.


Slow Food Upstate is a non-profit local chapter of the international organization Slow Food, that originated in Italy as a protest to fast food. Slow Food is an eco-gastronomic member-supported international organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Anyone can become a member by visiting


“Sensational” tomatoes will be a discovery of the individual qualities of some of the freshest organically grown gems, prepared by chef Nello Gioia at Ristorante Bergamo in downtown Greenville. The menu will be a full dinner, based on the tomato. Tasting of the food alone, naked and bare, striped of sauce, or other food partners, will be an essential element in all of the “Sensational” series, in order to teach the tongue about the unique qualities of each of the particular foods selected.


A special visit from our “Tommelier” –definition, a “Sommelier” of tomatoes, tongue in cheek, will guide your through the subtle sweetness complemented by a slightly bitter and acidic taste, then shows the role of cooking, which tempers the acid and bitter qualities in tomatoes and brings out their warm, rich, sweetness. We’ll cover the health benefits and enlighten you on the refined culture of the tomato on your plate.


What’s on the menu? It really depends on what is completely ripe and ready July 25th, but in the plans are some rare treats, subject to change as per 

Mother Nature:


-testing tomatoes by themselves

sun gold cherry and black Cherokee(Cherokee purple)

-Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, basil and Cherokee purple-bruschetta with striped German.

-Roasted polenta squares topped with sun gold cherry tomatoes sauce,in house cured crispy pancetta and shaved Cacio Cavallo.

-Rigatoni with San Marzano tomatoes sauce with basil and Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese.

-Roasted Bragon tomatoes( whole ) filled with sea scallops,topped with shrimp.


-Golden Rave tomato mousse topped with Thai Pink jam served in genoise mini cake.


About Local Upstate Tomatoes:


Cherokee Purple-originating with the Cherokee people over a hundred years ago, and saved for the sake of its flavor, this tomato is cataloged in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, designed to preserve at-risk foods that are sustainably produced, unique in taste, and are part of a distinct ecological region. Slow Food aims to maintain edibles in its purview by actively encouraging their cultivation for consumption.


Brandywine-a wonderful heirloom that was sold in the 1882 Burpee seed catalog, legendary for its superb flavor.


Striped German-described by Michael Idov of NY Magazine, as a tomato for “devotees who demand undiluted tomatoness. It tastes full and sweet, with a peachy texture, and looks ghastly.”


Jaune Flamme-an old French heirloom cultivar, with an intense, explosive flavor. “…a full-bodied, citrus-like flavor that surprises all who try it for the first time. The real joy is cutting into one. The yellow-orange skin yields to beautiful red-mottled flesh inside. …excellent for fresh salads, it reaches its full potential as a drying tomato. It has such an exquisite flavor that I use it exclusively when baking” Brook Elliot, Mother Earth News.


San Marzano- “While the varietal is grown in the U.S. and worldwide, it made its name as the tomato grown in the volcanic soil of Mount Vesuvius.

The legend is that the first seeds to become San Marzano tomatoes came to Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Kingdom of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples (the tomato originated in Peru). The seeds were planted in the area that is the present-day commune of San Marzano, a small town southeast of Naples, Italy at the base of Mount Vesuvius. The volcanic soil is believed to act as a filter for water impurities, producing a lower-acidity, brighter-flavored tomato. The tomatoes grown in the San Marzano area have the D.O.P. emblem, Denominazione d’Origine Protetta.” Karen Hochman, The Nibble Magazine


Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter- “well suited for times of economic distress. …bears a wealth of flat, pleated, one-pound-heavy fruit with deep pink flesh, low in acid and high in flavor. Radiator Charlie was a wrestler and an inventor who lived to be 97 years old. Charlie worked as an auto mechanic in the 1930s. His shop was in Logan, West Virginia, at the base of a steep mountain, where coal trucks rolled down regularly to have their blown-out radiators repaired. Charlie had no formal schooling, yet he could tinker anything back to working order. When he wanted to “build” a better tomato, he planted German Johnson, a huge beefsteak variety, and surrounded it with other large-fruited tomato plants. Charlie collected pollen from the circle of tomatoes with a baby’s ear syringe and squirted that pollen onto the German Johnson plants. He repeated this process patiently for 7 years, season after season, breeding his prize tomato behind the auto shop. Radiator Charlie sold seedlings of this tomato for a dollar apiece, paying off his $6,000 mortgage in 6 years.” Wendy Johnson, Tricycle magazine.


Sungold Cherry-bright tangerine cherry tomatoes, described by Arthur Allen of Smithsonian Magazine as “a sour blast, followed by a burst of sweetness that deposits a complex honey musk on my upper palate.” As an F1 Hybrid variety, the Sungold Cherry was created by crossing two genetically different plants, which produces a hybrid seed (plant) by means of controlled pollination. Don’t let the F1 scare you, it is not genetically modified, nor will you find any of the sort at a Slow Food gathering. F1 Hybrid simply means: A first generation offspring of two purebred strains. A hybrid can occur in nature, by wind or by other pollinators, or on purpose by humans in order to produce a tastier or more disease resistant variety. 'Sungold' was introduced to British and American gardeners in 1992 by the British mail order seed company Thompson and Morgan after taste tests that resulted in the rating "sweetest tomato ever."


Black Cherry- an ebony-purple heirloom variety, sweet and delicious.

Terroir Seeds calls them irresistibly delicious with a sweet, complex, rich and sometimes salty/smoky flavor, characteristic of the "blacks."


What to remember? Get your tickets early, space is limited.

Tickets available July 1 to members.


Refrigeration is anathema. A fruit so dedicated to worship the sun is cursed in the cold refrigerator. But if you want to save a little summer for winter, the tomato freezes well as long as you plan to use it for sauces later.

More information,


Ticket includes dinner and tasting, but excludes any alcohol. Please feel free to choose your preferred beverage at the restaurant on your own.

7% of the ticket price will go to fund Slow Food Upstate grants toward Slow Food in Upstate Schools, Slow Food on Campus in the Upstate,

the Ark of Taste in the Upstate and RAFT in the Upstate. Please see our web site for more information,

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