Currently, a person wanting to hop on a plane in Little Rock and fly to Tuscany can probably expect to shell out about $2,000 for the flight alone. Now, this may be a small price to pay for some enthusiastic food lovers, but it’s certainly not something most people can do often. Luckily, you don’t necessarily need to venture to Italy to experience good Italian cooking in Little Rock. Often, great Italian food can be consumed in the comfort of your own home.
Amy Bradley-Hole first visited Tuscany in 2009. Tucked away in a small rented home in the village of San Casciano dei Bagni, she remembers being overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells of the beautiful Italian countryside. By the time she left the country, she was fully enamored with the Tuscan lifestyle, calling it “easy, simple, beautiful, yet passionate and complex at the same time.” But it was the wonderful food that really left its mark on Amy. The moment she walked through the door of their vacation home, she was immediately struck by the intoxicating smells of rustic Italian food being prepared in the kitchen. More than anything, she hoped to bring this bit of Tuscany home with her.
After some time in the kitchen perfecting a recipe, Amy developed a signature Tuscan garlic tomato sauce and began marketing her product under the name “Bonta Toscana.” From the beginning, those customers who’ve had a chance to sample her product have been smitten by this addictive garlic sauce.
Amy says, “The beauty of [the sauce] is that it’s very simple, as is all Tuscan food. It only has five ingredients, but it’s still very rich and complex.” What she’s created is something between a marinara and an arrabiata (a spicy Italian red sauce flavored with chili peppers). The sauce has a crisp, clean flavor from high quality tomatoes, a smoothness from good Italian olive oil, a spicy kick from chili peppers, and a healthy dose of garlic. It’s free of preservatives, additives, and any chemicals, making it truly taste like it was made fresh in an Italian kitchen.
Honestly, it’s a wonderful product…and once you’ve cracked a bottle open, it’s very difficult to stop shoving it into your mouth. Pour it over pasta, smother on some baked chicken…I love eating it with grilled Italian sausage. Or simply use it as a dip for bread to really appreciate its exceptional flavor.
Bonta Toscana has received nothing but praise from the folks I know who’ve tasted it. It’s even made a good impression on chef Donnie Ferneau who has used it in dishes for his new business, “Good Food by Ferneau.” And Matt Clark from the Waffle Wagon has used the garlic sauce in his products, as well.
Currently, Amy sells her sauce in one quart and one pint jars at $12 and $7, respectively. The pint is perfect for a meal for two and the quart is great if you’re feeding a larger family or if incorporating it as part of a recipe. You can find the sauce at Hillcrest Artisan Meats and Terry’s Finer Foods but she’s hoping to be in several stores in the near future. Recently, she also began selling from a booth at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturdays.
Follow Bonta Toscana on Facebook or Twitter for updates on new developments and new locations in which to purchase Amy’s product. Recently, she’s been selling a few new products, as well, including a fresh pesto and a Florentine marinade, so be on the lookout for availability of these and any other future products. You can also check out the Bonta Toscana website for ordering information. Bring home a bottle of Bonta Toscana and the entire family will thank you for it.