January 22, 2020

Taste of Napoli

Basil Bolloso Napoletano

Janine Pineo Photo| Basil Bolloso Napoletano

If one can’t go to Italy for the food, one can at least grow some of the same foodstuffs in the garden. Such is the case with Basil Bolloso Napoletano, one of the most flavorful basils ever grown in the vegetable patch here at Garden Maine. Most years, it grows quite easily from seed, obtained from Seeds from Italy, which is the U.S. distributor for Franchi Seeds, the oldest family-owned seed company in Italy and started in 1783. Yes, that is 1783. With a pedigree like that, one can be fairly well assured one is getting a true taste of Italia. The blistered leaves (the bolloso) of this basil are huge, reaching the size of your hand. The flavor is strong, slightly anise, but true basil. According to Franchi, this basil is only grown in and around Naples, hence the moniker. It makes the best pesto and can be used to wrap up whatever cheese or vegetable you might like swathed in a basil leaf. And as you can see in the above picture, this year’s patch is magnifico.

Seed source: Seeds of Italy
(Added bonus: The seed packet comes in several languages!)