The story behind Innogusto
Mattèo and Carola Piano are two entrepreneurs who share a strong passion for tasty and healthy food. Although they share the love for the same cuisine, there is something they don’t have in common. Carola was a vegetarian for ten years and has been a 95% vegetarian for the last 20 years. The five per cent lies in the fact that she occasionally likes a well-baked chicken fillet or some white fish. But her carnivorous escapades stop there.
Mattèo is Italian and an omnivore, raised with the Italian cuisine. Over time, both Carola and Mattèo managed to adapt to each other’s eating habits. Since they got married, Mattèo has been eating less meat. Finally, they started exploring how they could develop dishes without compromising on taste — neither for Carola nor for Mattèo.
One day, they started experimenting with Italian ragouts, something Mattèo is entirely familiar with. The challenge was to let Carola enjoy these Italian culinary delights, but wholly vegetarian or vegan. For Mattèo, it had to reflect one hundred per cent his familiar Italian gastronomic culture.
For Carola, meat was not an option.
Mattèo had never made a ragout before, so he searched the Internet for the original Ragù alla Bolognese recipe. The first surprise was the absence of herbs in this ragout. How could the taste be so articulated? Carola went out to find the best vegan mince protein. Some were too dry, others too bitter and others had a strong off-taste. After several attempts, she found a vegan mince that was suitable.
They started to prepare the ragout according to the original recipe, yet with vegan mince. The result was a deliciously rich ragout that, surprisingly enough, hardly distinguished itself from the original Bolognese version. An uncompromising ragout they both could enjoy.
Friends for dinner
One day, they had friends over for dinner. It is always a challenge to serve something vegan or vegetarian, which meat-loving friends can really enjoy. They decided to make fresh pappardelle with Ragù alla Bolognese. The ragout can be prepared hours in advance and cooking fresh pasta takes only a few minutes. Sooner said than done.
That evening, their friends ate the pappardelle with Ragù alla Bolognese. They enjoyed it so much, that they ate much more pasta than they usually do. Carola and Mattèo kept silent that it was a vegetarian version.
When they were full, Carola asked: “And, did you notice anything different about this dish?” The looks of the friends spoke volumes. Should they be worried? They looked at each other, hoping that they were not about to hear something they’d rather not hear. They tried to guess what was so special about the dish. Carola came with the redeeming answer: “There was no meat in it, no meat at all!” Astonishment rayed from the faces.
A ragout with minced meat that is not meat? “Are you serious?” Carola confirmed that there was no meat in the dish that they just feasted on. “Well, if you hadn’t said anything, we would never have known”, was the answer.
“No, really, we don’t miss the meat. Can we have the recipe?“
Trying it out
Other try-outs followed, where friends and family were allowed to serve as guinea pigs. No one ever noticed that there was no meat in the ragout of ‘casa Piano’. Carola and Mattèo suddenly realised they had developed something that could reconcile vegetarians and meat lovers. A dish with a meat substitute, so delicious that everyone could enjoy it without missing the meat.
As brand developers, for some time they had been thinking about developing gourmet vegan and vegetarian products. Now they had something they could start with. Together they developed familiar (family)recipes for ragouts they already mastered.
The birth of GastroNoMeat®
GastroNoMeat® was born, launching three vegan ragouts: Bolognese, Ortolana, and Marinara and a vegetarian ragout, Campagnola. All as faithful as possible to the typical Italian gastronomic culture.
That is also how the slogan ‘Who needs meat’ was born. If a dish is tasty and nobody misses the meat, who still needs it?
Currently, in addition to the Italian line, the GastroNoMeat® range is being expanded with various popular world flavours and a variety of products for breakfast, lunch and dinner.