John Libonati

New Gluten-Free Product Review: Jovial Authentic Gourmet Italian Rice Pasta

by John Libonati on December 30th, 2010


When Jovial Foods, Inc. offered us samples of their brand new gluten-free pasta they claimed had the taste and texture of authentic pasta, we looked forward to the opportunity to judge for ourselves.

We were pleasantly surprised.  This is an excellent pasta, virtually indistinguishable from regular pasta in flavor, color, shape and consistency.

The Pasta

We received five different varieties: Spaghetti, Penne Rigate, Fusilli, Capellini and Caserecce.

All the pastas come in 12 ounce boxes. Protein is higher than most gluten-free pastas at 5g/serving. Fat is low at 2g. Each serving provides 4% of the recommended daily allowance of iron.

Upon opening the packages, we immediately noticed the appearance. Jovial paid a lot of attention to producing pastas that look genuine. Not too thick, not too thin. Many gluten-free pastas are featureless, oddly sized or in some other way different in appearance from “normal” pasta. Jovial was careful to insure the color, ridges, shapes and sizes are what you would find in traditional pasta varieties.

When preparing the pastas, we simply followed the instructions on the box. We salted the water. Oil was not called for, so we did not add it. Once it was boiling, we dropped in the pasta. First, we prepared it al dente. Then, we cooked it normally. Finally, we continued boiling it for a few minutes once it was done to see what would happen.

Observations

This pasta is forgiving. It kept its shape, even when overcooked. More importantly, it stayed together when we stirred the pot. Although every pasta requires you to “stir occasionally,” this sometimes breaks your gluten-free spaghetti into spaghetti bits. The Jovial pasta stayed intact.

No rinsing was required. We just strained the pasta through a colander. It maintained its shape and resisted clumping together.

The pasta tastes extremely mild and adopted the flavor of the sauces well. We used a marinara sauce, a robust Italian sausage-based sauce and plain butter.  We noticed the sauce seemed to stick to the pasta well.

One thing we did not expect was for the pasta to remain fresh and pliable after 24 hours in the refrigerator. Most gluten-free pastas are fine when you cook them, but rapidly turn hard and dry when refrigerated. Not Jovial. After our meal, we placed the leftover pasta in a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap. When we checked it the next day, it was almost as fresh as when we cooked it.

We wondered if there was some secret to this new gluten-free pasta that made it different from the others? But, a review of the ingredients revealed them to be the same as those found in most gluten-free pastas: “organic brown rice flour, water.”

Special Rice Makes Superior Rice Pasta

Jovial explained that they discovered certain varieties of rice make superior pasta. The special organic brown rice strains they use are grown exclusively in Italy. The result is a pasta with a firm texture and mild flavor that combines with any type of sauce.

It turns out the ingredients was not the only difference.

Master Craftsman Combine Experience and Expertise

Jovial’s pastas are produced by the most experienced gluten-free pasta makers in Italy, who began producing gluten-free pasta in 1972. These Tuscan master artisan pasta makers used pasta production methods handed down over five generations to transform organic brown-rice flour into the most authentic gluten-free pasta available.

The pasta is pressed with antique bronze dies and slow dried at low temperatures. These are the same time-honored methods that are used to make Italy’s best wheat pasta. The antique bronze dies are used because they create a rougher texture to better absorb sauces.

The brown rice flour is milled fresh for each production and utilized within 48 hours of milling to insure the freshest flavor.

Commitment to Gluten-free Safety

Jovial Pasta is certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Jovial’s production facility also uses automated sample selection during production and in-house Elisa testing to less than 5 parts per million.

The manufacturing plant is dedicated gluten-free and free of the top allergens: milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts. Jovial gluten-free pasta is made from pure, select varieties of brown rice, organically-grown exclusively in Italy. The pasta contains no soy or corn, starches or diglycerides. (Although Jovial pastas do not contain soy, their manufacturing facility does produce soy-based products.)

Earth-Friendly Packaging

Jovial is committed to providing healthful products. This commitment extends to their packaging. The company uses recycled cardboard in its packaging and is 100% recyclable. The inner bag looks like clear plastic, but is actually made from wood pulp and is fully compostable.

How Jovial Gluten-free Pastas Came About

Carla Bartolucci, the president of Jovial Foods, Inc., suffers from food sensitivities so she understands what it is like to live with a restricted diet. In her words, “Jovial gluten-free products were developed out of a heartfelt compassion for all of us who have had foods intolerances affect our health and wellness. We believe eating gluten-free should be pleasurable, and not feel like a sacrifice. We do not believe that gluten-free products cannot be made to taste great, it is just a matter of how relentless you are in developing them.”

Bartolucci’s relentless development has resulted in a truly exceptional gluten-free pasta that we all can enjoy.

Where to Buy

Jovial’s gluten-free pastas are available at leading natural food stores nationwide and on Amazon.com. Find a location near you by visiting the Jovial website and using their retailer locator. New stores are adding the products so in addition to checking the list, ask your local natural food stores if they have or can carry Jovial Brown Rice Pasta. Major food distributors supply Jovial, so you can also ask your local grocery store manager to order it for you if they do not already carry it. Prices range from $4.39 to $4.69 per box in stores and $3.25 to $3.50 per box if you buy 6 boxes on Amazon.com.

Special $1.00 Off Coupon

Click here to view a printable $1.00 off coupon for any Jovial pasta.

Contact Jovial

Jovial Foods, Inc.
5 Tyler Drive
North Franklin, CT 06254

Phone: 877-642-0644 from 8:30am to 4:30pm EST on weekdays.

E-mail: info@jovialfoods.com

Website: Jovialfoods.com


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One Response to “New Gluten-Free Product Review: Jovial Authentic Gourmet Italian Rice Pasta”

  1. awesome! Can’t wait to try it out!

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