The pesto both worlds: Loredana’s specialty products combine old-world Italian and American flavors at the Vail Farmers’ Market
Loredana Ottoborgo usually has a ten-odd person crowd around her table on any given Sunday at the Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show. They stop by to sample her wide array of Italian marinated cheeses, pestos and tapenades. According to friend and farmers’ market tent neighbor Courtney Mace, of Smith and Truslow, people run into Vail Village to buy some of her products, then run back out because they’ve parked illegally.
Ottoborgo owns Loredana’s, which crafts artisanal foods inspired by her family’s recipes from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Northern Italy. The company, which shares a name with its creator, is owned and operated by Ottoborgo and her husband Jay – the two met in the seventh grade at a Denver middle school – and everything is made in Colorado. Since 1995, the couple has been making and selling Italian specialty foods, and the Vail Farmers’ Market is one of the places you can get it.
Loredana’s parents moved to the United States from Italy and opened a restaurant in Denver. That’s how Loredana got her start in the culinary industry at age 9 washing dishes. She was the youngest, so she didn’t graduate to waiting tables until she was 23.
“I never wanted to wash dishes, so I wanted to make something that people could take with them and they could do their own dishes,” she said. “It was all about washing dishes. That was pretty much how I thought of all this.”
One of her most popular sells is her pesto. Years ago, she drove from Denver to a Dylan farm to pick up 70 pounds of basil her parents’ restaurant so she could make the pesto. The farmer mentioned selling it at the farmers’ market, so she did, and she made $50 that first day.
“That was more than I ever made working at my parents’ restaurant,” she said.
The pesto also comes as a torta, a popular 3-layer cracker spread with her pesto, mascarpone cheese and finely diced sundried tomatoes. At the market, she plates one of them for guests to sample on very thin crackers. She doesn’t make them as often as some of her other products because they’re labor intensive – each basil leaf is picked by hand– but she usually sells out by the end of the day.
Her flagship product, Siena, is marinated asiago and parmesean cheese with olive oil, garlic and spices. The Veneto is a variation of Siena, but with extra garlic. She also makes versions with habanero and jalapeno peppers. Loredana’s also offers vegan products, including her Fra Diavolo spicy dry rub, balsamic vinegar and olive tapenade.