The Best Pesto You May Ever Eat

This handmade, small-batch, addictive “green gold” has a cult-like following in the greater Hudson Valley.

photo by Jennifer Rossano

It’s so good, as in worth-getting-up-early-Saturday-morning-good. Head to the Chappaqua, Hastings, or Pleasantville Farmers’ Market to snatch up a couple of containers before they sell out. (And they will.) You won’t meet Chef Maria Gandara or her husband Gregor Trieste, the proprietors of Buddha Pesto; they’re busy keeping up with demand from their kitchen in Bearsville, a quaint Ulster County hamlet that borders Woodstock. Their recipe is classical: fresh organic basil, Italian parsley, pure olive oil, Pecorino Romano cheese, pignoli nuts, fresh garlic, pepper and sea salt.

What makes Buddha Pesto pure perfection? I’ve been asking myself that question since my first spoonful. Chef Gandara is pretty quiet on her process but my best guess is it’s the choice of silky, mild pure olive oil rather than extra virgin that allows the other ingredients to sing.

Are the pine nuts raw or toasted? How does she create just the right texture? What kind of mixer does she use, and does she pulse or blend? And for goodness sake, how does it stay so green? I may never know the answers to these questions, and that’s okay. There’s no turning back. I’m hooked. As long as Buddha Pesto is in business, I have a darn good reason to set my Saturday morning alarm nice and early.


Edible Green Gold #buddhapesto #pesto #farmersmarket

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Buddha Pesto is available at select retailers and farmers’ markets in the Hudson Valley and is also available to order on-line.

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