What? No Pesto! Italian restaurateurs and gourmets chefs are worried that the key ingredients to making the Pesto sauce, the pine nut has been harvested far too frequently and therefore such harvesting is causing all kinds of problems. The advisory is that pasta made with Pesto sauce not be served for now. Restaurateurs and Chefs are concerned, because the Pesto sauce is one of Italy’s most popular recipes, and not being able to serve the most popular dish is a difficult task.
“The culinary villain is pesto – and its suspect ingredient is the pine nut”, The Sentinel reports. Jonathan Slaght, a leading figure in the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society and a forestry expert, worries about the huge demand for the pesto sauce, which is made from pine nuts and basil. Millions of people all over the world have come to appreciate this wonderful sauce in pasta, and because of which the way the pine nuts are frequently harvested, is hurting the environment and the survival of the pine forests. In Russia in particular the pine forests are in danger because of unsustainable harvesting of pine nuts. Jonathan Slaght worries that the entire Korean pine ecosystem will could collapse. Making a mention that many animals from birds, wild boar, red-deer and others, depend on the pine nut, which is rich in protein, and which the animals require as nourishment in the winter months.
A Russian Town called Luchegorsk, near the Chinese border has reported incidents of hungry bears, coming on to the streets and attacking the residents, because of the shortage of pine nuts in the forests. Paolo Di Croce, a spokeswoman for Slow Food, an Italian-based sustainable eating movement, has suggested that if the nuts were just locally sourced, it would be able to stick to the recipe without damaging the environment. But Pesto Pasta is loved by millions across the world and the demand for the pine nut is increasing and the concern is the frequent harvesting, which will not sustain the forests. Importing of pine nut from Far East is observed to be the reason for the quick depletion. Mr Slaght has another suggestion: “For those who feel that it’s the combination of roasted nuts and fresh basil that gives pesto its unique flavour and texture, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and even almonds are all palate-pleasing alternatives.” Gourmet Chefs who look to turn out classic food will not be pleased with such alternatives. But in countries like India and others where pine nut is difficult to source the happy alternatives are cashew nuts.