Meet Serena of Pasquale's Peppers
You could say Pasquale’s is quite literally my family and where I come from! It was when my grandfather, Nonno Pasquale, passed in February 2020 that I was finally spurred to act on an idea I had for years: bringing his beloved Peperoncino Abruzzese to the UK. I grew up in Abruzzo with Peperoncino on the table, where my grandfather would prepare it in different ways. Moving to northern Italy to study, and then abroad, made me realise this wasn’t a universal thing and I thought “people are really missing out!”.
All our ingredients are grown and processed on the same family farm in Abruzzo. For Rosso Maturo and Verde Giovane, the farmer picks the Lazzaretto chillies at the right time (July for Verde, August for Rosso), then prepares them according to a time-honoured method: sliced and cured in salt, then vinegar, soaking and squeezing, then submerging in extra virgin olive oil from the very same farm. Four ingredients only, but lots of craftsmanship in getting every detail right. The Extra Jam is a real labour of love - due to the very high fruit content and no pectin added, it takes a long time to prepare, but we believe it’s what makes it so special.
I get tremendous support from my parents and from my siblings and other Pasquale’s grandchildren - some of whom are food entrepreneurs themselves! But most important of all is my husband Han Wei, who is a very involved father to our little girl, he truly shares the load with me and enables me to run Pasquale’s as well as keeping the day job!
Our products are fiery, flavourful, fair and - what customers tell us the most - fabulous! They work both as a condiment and flavour boost, to be layered on top of anything you’re eating, or as an ingredient whenever a recipe calls for fresh or dry chilli. Be prepared to have your tastebuds blown away by the depth of flavour!
Where is your happy place?
Anywhere where I can see both the mountains and the sea, like in Abruzzo. California, Scotland and some islands in Malaysia give me that same happiness. Right now I must say I just want to go home to Abruzzo and eat with my family!
What is your lazy go-to / comfort food dish when cooking? Do you have a recipe?
Definitely Pasta Aglio, Olio and Peperoncino - it’s all I eat when I am stressed! Don’t burn your garlic, use your best olive oil and chilli (Pasquale’s of course), and just add to the holy trinity whatever bits and bobs you have in the fridge or pantry. Also delicious with noodles and a splash of soy sauce!
What’s the strangest dish someone has used your products for? Have you tried it?
Chilli Negroni! My mixologist friend taught me how to infuse orange syrup with chilli and use the oil to extract the flavour. It’s delicious!