Luca adds spice for leftover Christmas turkey snacks

Italian-born foodie Dr Luca Montorio has come up with a solution to make post-Christmas turkey snacks tastier than ever for diners here.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 6:00 am

Originally from Turin, one of Italy’s artisan food hubs and now living in Portaferry with wife Liz and two sons, Luca, who owns Peppup Sauces in Newtownards, a producer of authentic Italian sauces and dressings, has created a novel Turkey Sandwich Sauce which adds rich flavours to one of the traditional leftover snacks after the Christmas dinner.

The new sauce, he says, is based on the family’s experience of creating foods based on what’s left of the turkey after dinner.

“I decided to explore how best to help make the sandwiches for snacks at Christmas deliciously different,” he explains. “I’ve used my experience in successfully developing Italian-style sauces for shoppers here to create a tasty option based on a blend of roasted peppers and tomatoes with aubergines and ginger spice.

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Peppup in Newtownards features a wide range of Italian-style sauces, ketchup, peppers and dressings

“I was also influenced to create the new sauce from discussions here with regular customers such as butchers and farm shops which buy our existing range of products. They are all very supportive and also keen to explore new tastes for their shoppers. I’ve found that family butchers and delis play an important role in advising shoppers, for instance, about sauces to accompany their meats. It’s a role that has grown during the pandemic with more people cooking at home and seeking different taste experiences.

“The sandwich sauce is a richly flavoured product which makes cold turkey in particular tastier after the Christmas dinner. Ginger was an obvious choice because it works really well with turkey. While it’s aimed initially at the Christmas season, the new sauce can be used throughout the year, for instance, on cold and hot chicken.

“Our strategic focus at Peppup is on offering shoppers, especially the growing numbers of home cooks from the coronavirus pandemic, different flavours.”

The new turkey and chicken sauce joins mild baby peppers and a mix of roasted red and yellow peppers in the Peppup Christmas range.

Dr Luca Montorio of Peppup Sauces in Newtownards has created a tasty sauce for Christmas turkey snacks

The artisan business, a leading supplier to delis, farm shops and family butchers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, now offers a range of around 15 Italian-style sauces, salad dressing and other foods for Christmas and other seasons.

A Special Selection range includes red and yellow roasted peppers, mild baby green peppers and hot chilli peppers.

The quality and range of Peppup’s distinctive products have led to a significant growth in sales since Luca launched the business with Liz in 2015.

“Our sales have grown by around 30 percent over the past three years,” Luca continues. “Among our most successful products are our unique bolognese sauces and original Italian-style ketchup.”

Peppup in Newtownards features a wide range of Italian-style sauces, ketchup, peppers and dressings

The company is rebranding its products to strengthen its image on the shelves with shoppers. A key feature of the sharp, new look is the inclusion of essential nutritional information on the front of the label. “This is a direct response to shoppers increasingly seeking information about ingredients and especially sugar and salt. It made good business sense to switch this information from the back to the label front,” adds Luca, who develops all the recipes for the products himself.

The Peppup range is now on-trend with consumer health interests and includes vegan, dairy free, gluten free options and without any added sugar. The products are 100 percent plant based and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The ketchup and sauces have also won UK Great Taste Awards for his products.

“They are ideal for those with dietary issues or conscious about weight,” he says.

A marine biologist by profession, Luca brought his love of delicious sauces from his family home in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, one that’s famed for its peppers and tomatoes used as ingredients in the region’s tasty and distinctive cuisine, to Northern Ireland when he came here with Liz, also a marine scientist, to pursue their careers.

A passionate foodie, Luca saw a business opportunity here to develop a new range of table artisan sauces as an alternative to mass produced sauces and set up Peppup to develop these for the local marketplace. The outstanding success of the Peppup ketchups with retail clients and their customers led Luca to focus his energies on the small business and to take part in many food markets here. He also joined the Food NI network and has taken part in many of its activities.

“Our ketchups proved popular because of the rich flavour that comes from Italian roasted peppers. I’ve kept the ingredients to a minimum to ensure the flavour of the peppers was paramount, he adds.

“A key objective for me is to create novel sauces that don’t compromise on taste or quality. My sauces are authentic and versatile. They can be used to add distinctively rich flavours to any dish…. especially turkey leftovers!”

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