The "tomato of the Piennolo of Vesuvius DOP" is one of the oldest and most typical products of the Campania agriculture, so much that it is even represented in the scene of the traditional Neapolitan nativity.
In fact, in different territories of Campania, there are groupings of eco-types with berries of small size, the so-called "cherry tomatoes", which are distinguished from each other by typicality, rusticity and organoleptic quality. The most famous have always been those still widespread on the slopes of Vesuvius. The "cherry Tomato of the Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP" brings together old cultivars and local biotypes, combined with more or less similar morphological and qualitative characteristics, the selection of which has been cured in the decades by the farmers themselves. The names of these types are the popular ones attributed by the same local producers, such as "Fiaschella", "bulb", "Patanara", "Principe Borghese" and "King Umberto", traditionally cultivated for centuries in the same territory of origin.
The distinguishing characteristics, at the technical-mercantile level, of the product eligible for protection are:
In the fresh state: fruits of oval or slightly pruniforme with pointed apex and frequent ribbing of the stalking part, thick skin of ruby red colour, size not more than 25 g, pulp of high consistency and red colour, lively flavor Intense and sweet-sour;
Preserved in the Piennolo: dark red skin color, pulp of good texture of red color, intense and lively flavor. The "Piennoli" or "snaps" have a weight, at the end of preservation, varying between 1 and 5 kilograms.
To the effects of the protection action it was found that the peculiar aspect of typicality that unites the Vesuvian tomatoes is the ancient practice of preservation "Al Piennolo", that is a technical characteristic to bind some bunches or "bodies" of Ripe cherry tomatoes, to form a large cluster that is then suspended in ventilated rooms, thus ensuring the optimum preservation of the precious harvest until the end of winter. Over the months the tomato, while losing its Turgor, takes on a unique and delicious taste, especially Neapolitans particularly appreciate to prepare delicious and inviting sauces. It is precisely the system of preservation to the "Piennolo" which, favouring a slow maturation, also allows a long preservation, with the consequent possibility of consuming the product "natural" until the following spring.
The tomato of Vesuvius is appreciated on the market both in the fresh state, sold freshly collected on the local markets, that in the typical shape preserved in hanging-"Al Piennolo"-, or also as preserved in glass, according to an ancient family recipe of the area, Called "A Pacchetelle", also contemplated in the PDO production regulations.
Ordinarily the harvest is carried out severing the whole bunches, when on them are present at least 70% of red cherry tomatoes, while the others are being ripened. This ancient practice allows to procrastinate the consumption of the berries, intact and untransformed, throughout the winter after the harvest, up to seven to eight months, using ventilated rooms and without the support of modern conservation technologies.
The peculiarities of the "tomato of the Piennolo of Vesuvius DOP" are the high consistency of the peel, the force of attachment to the peduncle, the high concentration of sugars, acids and other soluble solids that make it a long-preservation product during the Which none of its organoleptic qualities undergo alterations. These peculiarities are deeply linked to the environment factors typical of the geographical area in which the tomato is cultivated where the soils, of volcanic origin, are constituted by pyroclastic material originated from the eruptive events of the volcanic complex Sum-Vesuvius.
In this environment of choice, the quality of the tomato reaches peaks of excellence. Its richness in organic acids determines the liveliness or "acidulità" of Taste, which is the distinctive character of the tomato of Vesuvius. This, in addition to deriving from a genetic peculiarity, is an indication of a method of cultivation with low environmental impact and with reduced use of irrigation water, which makes this crop particularly suitable for a protected area, such as that of the National Park of Vesuvius.
The "tomato of the Piennolo of Vesuvius DOP" for its qualities is a fundamental ingredient of Neapolitan cuisine and Campana in general, and has a great versatility in the kitchen.
Alongside traditional spaghetti with clams and other seafood, local chefs undertake to use it on many other dishes, including a variation of the delicious Neapolitan pizza.
The cultivation of Piennolo tomatoes on the slopes of Vesuvius has undoubtedly ancient and well-documented roots.
To limit ourselves to the most illustrious historical testimonies, news about the product are brought back from Bruni, in 1858, in his "of the vegetables and their cultivation in the city of Naples", where it speaks of cherry tomatoes, very tasty, which "are maintained excellent until Spring, as long as tied in Serti and suspended at the attics. "
Another reliable literary source is that of Palmieri, who on the Yearbook of the Royal High School of Agriculture in Portici (current Faculty of Agricultural), of 1885, speaks of the practice in the area Vesuvian to preserve the berries of the variety P ' Apennines in Shaded and ventilated places.
Francesco De Rosa, another professor of the School of Portici, on "Horticultural Italy" of November 1902, indicated that the old "Cerasella" Vesuvian had been gradually replaced by the type "a salts", more suitable for the preservation to the Piennolo. De Rosa is also the first researcher who exhaustively reports the entire cultivation technique of vesuvian tomatoes, intending that it was developing in the area an entire economy around this product, from the production of seedlings from The sale of the stored product.
Even the Prof. Marzio Chapman, of the Faculty of Agriculture of Portici, in his text of 1916, agrees with the previous sources, both on the varietal description and on the methods of production, dedicating entire parts of the text to describe meticulously the cultivation technique and Especially by providing data, even economic, that help to understand the laboriousness and complexity of this type of product.
The typical area of production and preservation of the tomato of Piennolo coincides with the entire extension of the volcanic complex of the Somma-Vesuvius, including its sloping slopes up almost to the level of the sea.
In particular, the area of production and conditioning provided for in the specification of the "tomato of the Piennolo of Vesuvius DOP" includes:
- The entire territory of the following municipalities of the province of Naples: Boscoreale, Boscotrecase, Searcha, Herculaneum, mass of sum, Octavian, Pollena Trocchia, Portici, Sant'Anastasia, San Giorgio a Cremato, San Giuseppe Vesuviano, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, sum Vesuvian, Terzigno, Torre Annunziata, Torre del Greco, Trecase,
- The part of the territory of the municipality of Nola bounded perimeter: From the provincial road of Nola-Rione Trieste (for the section that goes by the name of "Constantinople"), from the "facades Rosario", the limit of the municipality of Ottaviano and the limit of the municipality of Sum Vesuvian.