Welcome to the Fattorosi Family brand of authentic imported Italian products. We are new brand but with deep roots in Southern Italy. The Fattorosi Family can trace their ancestry to the year 1139 and to a small village called Lettere, not far from Mount Vesuvius. Our logo is the family’s crest, with the five fleur de lies and rampant lion representing the French Norman and Germanic Lombard origins of the family dating to the year 1083 in Salerno.
Lettere, located on the Sorrento Peninsula on the slopes of Monti Lattari, is a mere seven miles from Pompeii. The area surrounding Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius is world renowned for its wine and vegetables it produces.
Pompeii’s destruction in 79 A.D., also led to a large amount of volcanic ash being deposited on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius and Monti Lattari. That ash contained large quantities of lava, silica, and pumice resulting in a soil that is rich in potassium, phosphorus, sulphur, and other trace minerals. In addition to the soil, Monti Lattari has some of the cleanest, freshest spring water making it some of the most fertile soil in Italy.
When the family patriarch, Giovanni Fattorosi, emigrated to the United States from the Sorrento Peninsula in 1890 he brought along with him some of the traditions he learned growing up in the region. He would make his own wine, pasta, and pasta sauce in his house which was the original first church of St. Anthony’s in Port Reading, New Jersey. Giovanni’s recipes were handed down in the family to his grandson, Joseph Fattorosi, and then to his great-grandson, Michael Fattorosi.
Called “Italy’s bubbly answer to pizza” by Wine Spectator Magazine. Lettere is a fizzy red, full of cherry fruit, lightly sweet and low in alcohol (11.5 percent). Ruby red in color, with a violet reflection, it serves with a slight foam and effervescence. It is delicious and works beautifully with pizza and any tomato sauce-based entrée. The fruitiness and sweetness playing off the sharp acidity of the tomato sauce. It also pairs nicely with fried appetizers, fried fish, and cured meats such as salami and prosciutto. Made with a blend of three different varieties of grapes, Piedirosso, Sciascinoso, Suppezza, Castagnara and Aglianico, using the Charmat method. Rarely found in any restaurant or wine shop, you can now order what centuries of wine making in Lettere has perfected. A new wine, it is not aged and is served chilled. A simply unique experience of Italian wine making.
Growing up in New Jersey, my father would make his own wine for our family’s traditional Sunday macaroni dinners. I remember that he would often be frustrated since he could never quite get it to taste like his grandfather’s wine. However, what I never understood is why he always chilled his red wine. He would make large glass jugs of it and then fill smaller table sized carafes, chill them and enjoy a bottle with dinner. Often, he would pour me a little taste of it, fruity and cold, I loved when he would pass me a small glass of this family tradition. It was not until 2005 when I visited Lettere for first time and enjoyed my first bottle of their wine did I understand what he was trying to accomplish.
Sauce or gravy? To many Italians, especially in the Northeast region of the United States, those are fighting words. Beyond sauce or gravy, there is also a debate as to what is the best tomato for the traditional Neapolitan ragu. Some prefer San Marzano tomatoes, a variety of the Roma tomato, called Pomodori di San Marzano, after the Italian word for the yellow tomatoes first imported to Italy from the Americas. However, our passata is little different. And we think much better than passata made from the San Marzano variety. We use tomatoes grown by a traditional small producer on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius known as Vesuvio Piennolo or Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio. It is one of the oldest and most typical variety grown in the region. This ancient variety is smaller, sweeter, and less acidic than the San Marzano variety. Sweet with a thick pulp and low water content, they are the perfect tomato for our Passata di Antico Pomodoro (Sauce from Ancient Tomatoes).
While they are sweeter, those who are conscious about their sugar intake, our passata is low in sugar (only 2.8 grams per 100 grams of passata vs. 8 grams per 100 grams for store bought passata) since we do not add any sugar into the sauce. Our passata is produced in smaller quantities and in more traditional ways (handpicked, hung and stored) than the passata produced by the large factory farms. It is easy to taste the difference.
One of the summer traditions growing up in my family was the “canning of the sauce.” Like most Italian Americans, we had a vegetable garden where my father would grow everything from string beans, to cauliflower, broccoli, and my personal favorite as a child, pumpkins. For Halloween, it was nice having your own pumpkin patch. But my father’s pride and joy were his tomato plants. He planted several varieties, and when we did not produce enough tomatoes in our garden, he would purchase more from our neighbors who had their own gardens. However, the variety he loved the best were the tomatoes grown from the seeds he was given by Giovanni, his grandfather. According to family rumor, he brought the seeds in his luggage when he sailed from Naples to New York City in 1890. Bushels of tomatoes would line the floor in our kitchen as I would slowly turn the crank on the large silver food strainer my father had clamped to our kitchen table as he fed the tomatoes into the hopper. Pots of tomatoes simmering on the stove, rows of glass Bell jars lined up on the counter, the smell of tomatoes would linger in our kitchen for days after we would finish. All winter long, he would send me to the basement to retrieve 4 large jars once a month to make enough sauce for 4 Sunday dinners. He would freeze the left-over sauce for the following Sunday dinners. For years I experimented to recreate the sauce of my childhood. I have finally found it and it can now be a part of your family tradition.
Our pasta is produced in Gragnano, Italy according to strict centuries old processes by an artisanal manufacturer using only fresh spring water from Lattari Mountains, 100% Italian grown semolina flour, bronze cut and dried by the sea-breeze of the Amalfi Coast. Gragnano is known as the pasta capitol of Italy, perhaps the world. Pasta making has been a tradition in Gragnano for centuries.
Our pasta is much healthier and more digestible option than a non-Italian wheat full of artificial preservatives that is usually used in commercial factory produced pastas. Our pasta’s nutritional profile is exceedingly high, with a higher protein level, lower gluten index, and increased amounts of carotenoids and natural antioxidants. Many of the pastas that are found on grocery store shelves now, are not even made in Italy and are full of preservatives. You can even see the difference in color. Their pasta is a pale yellow, caused by the additives and preservatives. While our pasta is more of an off-white color. And you will certainly taste the difference. Once you try our pasta, you will never go back to the cheaper factory produced “plastic” pasta.
Other than canning tomato sauce, my father’s other love was making his own pasta. I remember watching him preparing the flour on Saturday mornings. Saturday was pasta making day since it needed enough time to dry for Sunday dinner. His pasta recipe was also passed down from Giovanni who was a baker by trade and would make bread for the Italian families in Port Reading. Every morning my father would hop on his bike and deliver my great-grandfather’s Italian bread before heading off to school.
When I was a child my father would use a hand-cranked pasta machine to form the dough into the long spaghetti shaped pasta he enjoyed. And like with the tomatoes, I was enlisted to turn the hand crank. Later in life, to my surprise and relief, my father purchased a Kitchen Aide mixer with a pasta making attachment.
No longer was my right arm exhausted every weekend.
The flour would be spread across the kitchen table with much of it ending up on the floor. The counters were full of racks and wax paper with pasta drying in the open air. Once we had made enough, my father would check on it every few hours and rotate and turn the pasta so it would dry evenly.
I vividly remember the taste of that fresh homemade pasta bathed in my father’s red sauce with his own homemade sausage next to it. In our house, food was family.
And in your house, food can become a tradition, once again.
When most people think of Italy and olive oil, they immediately think of Puglia. However, every region of Italy produces their own olive oil. No other country consumes more olive oil than Italy. Our infused olive oil is produced on the Amalfi Coast in Sorrento. While Sorrento is known for being a touristic seaside town, it is also world renowned for its lemons, limoncello and olive orchards.
Olive oil is perhaps the most essential ingredient in the Mediterranean cuisine. A good olive oil gives a finishing touch to every dish and gives it its uniqueness, as well as flavor. Our infused olive oil is also quite healthy! Full of vitamins and healthy fats, olive oil has been used in the Mediterranean cuisine for centuries.
Our olive oil is produced exclusively with olives, grown on ancient trees in volcanic soil, which provides extra flavor and minerals. The producer of our olive oil has been producing olive oil in Sorrento since 1849. The history of our oil began with a traditional mill grinder and a few acres of land. Our producer emphasizes traditional production, according to their long family history producing top-quality oil. The olives are still today manually harvested, carefully selected and cold-pressed, to produce a unique oil we love, and so will you.
While my father never produced his own olive oil. Honestly, I do not know if there are any olive orchards in New Jersey, but he did make his own special blend of Italian olive oil as a base to his tomato sauce. Once a month, always on a Sunday morning, my father would cook up an oversized pot of tomato sauce. He always started it the same way, by coating the bottom of the pot with olive oil, garlic, fresh onions, basil and oregano from his garden, black pepper and a pinch of red pepper to give it a little “kick.” This was the recipe handed down from my great grandfather, Giovanni, who brought it with him from his mother in Italy.
I still have the memory of the entire house being filled with the smell of the garlic and onions caramelizing in the bottom of that pot. That boutique would linger all day. To this day, that smell brings me back to my childhood and of simpler times. Now tomato sauce is massed produced, full of preservatives, and artificial ingredients to enhance their flavor. Full of unnecessary salt and sugar additives, store bought sauce is not something you should serve your guests or family.
You should not simply warm up a pot of premade sauce in minutes. It needs to be slow cooked, simmered in the traditional way, over a period of hours under a low heat.
Our Infused Olive Oil – Neapolitan Style contains a proprietary blend of garlic, onion, basil, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper, to be the perfect base to any homemade sauce. Whether you choose your own tomato puree or our Passata di Antico Pomodoro, our infused olive oil makes preparation easy. Just pour the contents of the entire bottle into the bottom of your pot, heat slightly and then add 2 bottles of our Passata di Antico Pomodoro or 2200 grams (approximate 80-90 ounces) of your own passata. Simmer on a low flame for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally to allow the sauce to thicken and it is ready to serve.
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Italian food as it was meant to be…
Simple, delicious, healthy. Our products are all imported from Southern Italy. Products from the Sorrento Peninsula have been valued for centuries due to its volcanic soil. During the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, ash covered the soil of the entire Amalfi Coast. This soil has a higher mineral and nutritional content which makes the harvest from that region not only taste better, but also healthier.
All our products are exclusively produced by small producers who still use traditional production techniques and emphasize quality instead of quantity. Each of our products have their own story and are unique in their own way. Whether it is pasta, tomato sauce or wine, we want to provide you and your family with the very best possible culinary experience.