Calabrian Sauce Tales: Nonna Carolina's Unique Sauces Conquer the SFFS
It is common belief that the cuisine of Italian grandmothers is the most authentic, flavorful and healthy of all. No matter what your grandma sets on the table you know it's going to be good.
So it's no surprise that City Saucery's Nonna Carolina sauce line won NYCEDC's (New York City Economic Development Corporation) Third Fancy Food Competition. The Taste of NYC: Fancy Food Fellowship is “ a City-sponsored competition designed to send New York City-based specialty foods manufacturers to an internationally recognized trade show in New York City (the 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show), connecting small business owners to a global audience.” The 2015 competition focused on immigrant entrepreneurs in the City: Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen (from Malaysia), City Saucery (of Calabrian roots), Port Morris Distillery (of Puerto Rican heritage) and Spoonable (of French-Moroccan heritage).
City Saucery is a modern family business based in Staten Island, co-owned by Michael Marino, a Brooklyn native, Jorge Moret of Venezuela and Nonna Carolina, Michael's mother, who emigrated from Italy to the United States in the 1970s. The sauce is inspired by Nonna's traditional recipes coming from her native region of Calabria. “This artisanal tomato sauce is made using regionally sourced ingredients to create unique, delicious and healthy sauces for the discerning palate,” co-owner Michael Marino has said. “We prepare it the old-fashioned way using locally-grown ingredients like 100% New Jersey vine-ripened tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and aromatic herbs that bring out flavors reminiscent of home-cooked meals from Nonna Carolina's kitchen.” The company's motto? “Inspired by Calabria, Handcrafted in NYC.”
“My partner Jorge Moret and I started the business to share our love for delicious, authentic and healthy food. Our tomato sauce captures the freshness and flavors of Grandma's home-cooked specialty and is devoid of GMOs, chemical additives, or preservatives.”
“Nonna Carolina has always been an amazing cook,” Jorge Moret has said, “At first she was working in the kitchen of a local restaurant where she prepared delicious and unique dishes from her native region of Calabria. She immediately acquired a following, which gave Michael and I the idea of promoting her dishes on social media with local classes and demonstrations to teach fans traditional techniques on handcrafting and preserving foods. This is where we saw tremendous potential in Nonna Carolina's sauces.”
Citty Saucery opened in September 2011, in just a few months. A lot of people think 'Nonna' is a fictitious name for City Saucery's products. Just a marketing stunt. “Little do they know that she is a real Italian grandmother (of five),” Moret has added, “She's City Saucery's ‘sauce boss’, inspiration, and a real spark plug in the kitchen! Standing at only five feet tall, she has a little step-stool to reach over the stove and a three-foot wooden spoon to stir her sauce—and you better not mess with her sauce!”
Through the Fellowship, City Saucery had a chance to share its unique and healthy line of tomato sauces at the 2015 edition of the Summer Fancy Food Show, where over 22,000 buyers from more than 100 countries go to discover top-of-the-line specialty food products. The Show is North America's leading showcase of industry innovation, bringing together specialty food's top manufacturers and buyers. This was an unparalleled opportunity.
"I don't have many words to explain what this means to me but I do know that this opportunity tells me all my efforts to put good and clean food on the American table has been recognized,” Michael Marino has added. Nonna's sauces are not just for pasta but they pair perfectly with a number of fish, chicken, meats and vegetable dishes like Sloppy Saucey Joey made with Nonna's Smoky Sauce or Minted Peas & Farro made with Nonna's Sweet Sauce.
One thing Michael wants to clarify for all: they do not jar Marinara or Puttanesca or Arrabbiata or Bolognese or or Alfredo sauce: they jar tomato sauces with a unique twist, what Nonna would cook up for her own family.