Leggo’s Vine Ripe Pasta Sauce

I’m back!  Back from a two-week Telstra imposed exile.  In exile, there’s no internet and it’s a bit how I imagine hell, really.  Anyway, just before I was cast into exile, I was invited to a dinner hosted specifically for 30 food enthusiasts to celebrate the launch of Leggo’s Vine Ripe Pasta Sauce.

'Ripened on the vine, loved off the plate'

‘Ripened on the vine, loved off the plate’

When I arrived in Australia in 1977, ABBA had just left the country preventing me from attending their concerts and Elvis inconveniently died before I had a chance to meet him (or at least see him in concert), but the other notable ‘celebrity’ who was everywhere was Margaret Fulton, Australia’s first celebrity cook (although the term ‘celebrity’ wasn’t given to cooks in the ’70’s, so Margaret was just, ‘known’).  Anyway, every time you turned on the TV, Margaret was there because she was firmly attached to the Leggo’s brand, encouraging us to move away from dinners of grilled chops with three veg and instead be a little Italian with our cooking.


The story behind Leggo’s is that in 1882 in the mining town of Bendigo, a 13-year old boy named Henry Madren Leggo started selling his mother’s bottled tomato sauce and pickles to hungry miners in their camps.  Six years later he bought a grocery store and began producing vinegar, pickles, sauces, cordials and other grocery goods based on his mother’s traditional recipes.


Growing up we always had Leggo’s products in our fridge and pantry, especially their most famous product, the tomato paste and more than one hundred years since that 13-year old boy began Leggo’s, the brand is still expanding.  The latest product release is the Vine Ripe pasta sauces and these contain 100% Australian grown tomatoes that aren’t harvested until they are properly ripened ensuring they are sweeter and of a higher nutrient content before being harvested.  If you look on the back of the vine ripe jar you will see just a handful of natural ingredients and no nasty additives – very pleasing!

_B1I7474But I have to tell you about the dinner.  It was set in an upstairs warehouse conversion where Carl and I walked in and were immediately offered an Italian mineral water or a glass of sparkling Canti Prosecco.  There was a long table laid before us that was beautifully decorated and reminded me of dining in a Tuscan village where all the extended family is about to gather around for a long leisurely lunch.

The setting for the Leggo's Vine Ripe dinner

The setting for the Leggo’s Vine Ripe dinner

While hovering around the table we were served an Aperitivo of Leggo’s Vine Ripe Tomato and Basil Zuppa but due to being star-struck by being in the presence of some of my all-time heroes (who I will tell you about in a minute), I somehow missed the Zuppa.  But it looked good!  It was served in shot glasses and looked like a chilled, refreshing soup.

Leggo's Vine Ripe Pasta Sauce available in 3 varieties

Leggo’s Vine Ripe Pasta Sauce available in 3 varieties

When we sat down (and sadly I was a long way from my heroes), we were served Italian wines of Pinot Grigio or Calapiano Chianti.  The Primo was handmade gnocchi with Leggo’s Vine Ripe Tomato and Onion Sauce, finished with fresh basil and grated parmesan.  It was beautiful.  Really good gnocchi unlike the gnocchi I make at home!



After the Primo, there was a cooking demonstration of something you could simply make using the new pasta sauce range.  Can you believe the demonstration was done by Margaret Fulton’s granddaughter, Kate Gibbs who is an author and food writer with a blog, The Kitchen Inc.  Time marches on!  Kate made meatballs and served them with the Leggo’s tomato and basil sauce.  She asked for a volunteer to help her roll the meatballs and Carl was nudging me to run forward but of course, we all know I’m too shy for that!  One of the contestants in this year’s series of My Kitchen Rules was only too keen to lend a hand.

Kate Gibbs, Margaret Fulton's granddaughter

Kate Gibbs, Margaret Fulton’s granddaughter

The Secondo was veal scaloppini with grilled zucchini, Leggo’s vine ripe tomato and roasted garlic ratatouille and chat potatoes.

_B1I7504All the food was coming from a room in the corner of the venue where there was a small commercial kitchen.  Just after the Secondo there was a loud operatic tenor voice coming from the kitchen and out stepped Lorenzo Rositano who has just graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and is now employed with Opera Australia.  I’m sure most of you Aussies would remember the Leggo’s TV commercials with La Dona e mobile from Verdi’s Rigoletto.



I managed to capture a bit of Rositano’s performance for you where he’s altered some of the words.

Dolce was a trio of Italian sharing plates.  There was a chocolate and hazelnut tart, Tiramisu cakes and biscotti that you could enjoy with an espresso macchiato.

A trio of Italian desserts

A trio of Italian desserts

It was quite a filling meal of rustic Italian fare that reminded me of food you could enjoy around a table surrounded by your entire family.

After the meal we were invited to shop at a small store they had set up where the shopping was free.  That got my attention.  I was given a brown paper bag and told to fill it and so I did – to capacity.  There was fresh produce together with grocery items and I filled my bag with Australian garlic, onions, baby carrots, fresh basil, pasta, and of course, Leggo’s Vine Ripe pasta sauces.

Pssst - he's the one on My Kitchen Rules!

Pssst – he’s the one on My Kitchen Rules!

But back to my heroes.  You all know I love my swimming.  In the room were two champions I greatly admire.  I sidled up to Daniel Kowalski who won gold, silver and bronze at the Sydney Olympics plus medals at many other events.  He was a middle and long-distance swimmer but is most remembered for his 1500mtr events where at several Olympic finals he won the silver medal, finishing second only to other Australians.  Have you ever swum 30 laps of an Olympic pool in a race?  Or managed 30 laps without stopping?  At an Olympic 1500 final they swim each lap in just under 30 seconds.  This is why I love and admire these swimmers so much.  If I had to race 50mtrs I could be at the other end in under 34 seconds.  I asked Daniel, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, what time he could do today in a 50mtr freestyle event.  He said, ‘Well, because of my shoulder it would probably take 25 or 26 seconds’.  How to put a pin in my balloon.


Do I look happy to be linking arms with Daniel Kowalski?

Do I look happy to be linking arms with Daniel Kowalski?

Elka Whalan (nee Graham) was also there.  She won silver in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay at the Sydney Olympics.  I shouldn’t have asked, but I did, about what time she would do for a 50 free and she said, ‘Oh, about 25 or 26’.  What an over-achiever.  We were actually going to be at the same swimming event on the Sunday as part of a charity event to raise money for kids with cancer only Elka and I wouldn’t have been starting the race in the same group due to one of us being in an older age group.

Note the legs up to my hips!

Note the legs up to my hips!

And so I had a fabulous evening, not only because I sidled up against a couple of people I have admired from afar, but because I was witnessing a well-planned launch of a great Aussie product that is something I know I’ll have in my pantry almost all the time.  With the produce I collected in my brown paper shopping bag I made the meatball dish Kate Gibbs demonstrated.  My family loved it so much I made it for them again two nights later.  It really is so simple to do, just make some meatballs and add them to a simmering jar of Leggo’s Vine Ripe Pasta Sauce.

_B1I7469There’s an app you’ll love, Leggo’s Loves Italian where you’ll find cooking tips, recipes and even music to cook with.

Leggo's app

Leggo’s app

Let me know what you think of this very natural, very Italian, made in Australia product.



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  1. What fun, and a shopping bag of goodies too! So happy to have you back. xoxo

    ~ April

  2. I am happy to hear that you are back instyle! I missed you heeps! I hope you are okey too! 🙂 What a fun event you went to! Great foods too, I see! 🙂 xxx

  3. Fi @ My Mummy Daze says:

    Yummmm! That gnocchi looks amazing! I feel like a midnight snack now. I’m keen to give this sauce a go. I like the sounds of it being additive-free! Fi xxx P.S I’d love to meet Kate Gibbs! We adore her kids’ cookbook!

  4. Nice to have you back! I missed you- and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. This sounds like such an exciting, glamorous party. Too bad we don’t have Leggo’s here.

  5. I missed your posts!!!

  6. Love your dress! And love that you’re back. I’m not looking forward to my eventual return to Australia, where wifi doesn’t abound everywhere…

  7. I’ve missed your posts as well and was wondering if you were on hols or even sick. Glad you are back. What a great bag of goodies. I wish I had access to that sauce–it looks like it could be a life-saver.

  8. So glad to have you back!! Can’t wait for your next recipe 🙂

  9. Welcome Back Charlie!! Looks like you had an awesome time. But I am still waiting to hear about Archie’s school woes…….

  10. That certainly does look like a very nice event Charlie, how fortunate that you were invited. I love that the product has stayed true to their roots after all these years; now that’ dedication to quality without folding to greed. I doubt very much that we are able to buy these products in Canada — shipping would probably make it price prohibitive.
    Now your service provider doesn’t sound very reliable, I hope they gave you something for your trouble, like a free month or two. I find Twitter is a very good platform to let a company know of their bad service, I usually get a response immediately with good resolution.
    And what a bonus to meet the folks that you’ve admired for so long. The photos are great, you are beaming and we can see how happy you are to have met them!
    On a side note, do you self host your blog? Did you realize that there is advertising buried into your content set as links? I’ll email the example shortly. I just noticed that wordpress was doing it on my blog, but I figured it was because I don’t self host. Anyway, it’s quite annoying because I don’t want it to look like it’s me endorsing that advertisement.

    • Thanks for letting me know. No, I didn’t know there’s advertising embedded into my links. But I did know I have some sort of a virus and that’s why I had a lot of trouble uploading the images. So many issues! I’ll try to get something sorted out today.

  11. Looks like a fantastic event. I shall have to try it. Australian made with no junk. That sound like my kind of pasta sauce.
    Ps so glad you are back up. See you Wednesday next.

  12. Welcome back my friend, it is wonderful to back with your blog 🙂
    Love this Leggo’s event, their sauce is soooo good 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  13. Charlie, woohoo! So glad you’re back! I’m thankful you had this to think upon during your exile… Internet woes aren’t uncommon to Oklahoma (or at least where I live), but I’ve never been shut out for weeks. Hooray for at least being invited to the soiree as the result of being online, Telstra permitting. What an evening — what a delightful video (what a voice!) — and what a memorable evening. You look WONDERFUL!

  14. I was follwing your agony through facebook Charlie.
    everything looks magnificent!

  15. Welcome back! What a lucky girl to be invited to such a splendid event. The food took me back to Italy. It looked very authentic. Thanks for taking us along with you.

  16. Yay you’re back! I missed you and your familys misadventures Charlie!
    What a great something evening indeed, and how nice to meet some of your heroes too, they looked nice and natural and happy to let you get your happy snaps 🙂
    The new sauce does sound nice, tomatoes certainly are sweeter when they ripen properly on the vine. I’ll try this out next winter when my garden is hibernating and my freezer stash of tomato sauce is gone.
    PS…. We’re still waiting for the rest of the Archie school saga….. Don’t leave us hanging! 🙂 x

  17. I’ve missed your posts! What a fantastic evening! Like you said, it looks wonderfully organised and smoothly run! The meal looks delicious and what a great idea to offer a spot of (free) shopping!

  18. A free gift shop?!? Oh my goodness I think I would have gotten a little over-excited. That gnocchi looks delicious. It’s one of my favourite dishes but I’m still yet to make it at home.
    Looks like a fun and well-planned launch!
    Glad you are back from being exiled!

  19. Happy you are back! We have been on vacation for a week so I have been away to, and finally catching up on my blog reading 😀 I love gnocchi, and would like to try some of this sauce with it!

  20. Welcome back. Mixing with the stars and fancy dinners, nice. I don’t think I could even do two laps of a pool with out stopping. Looks like you had a great night.

  21. what an incredible heritage to share! and such a fabulous meal!! (love your dress, btw)

  22. I am so glad you’re back! I have needed a good laugh 🙂 I wish that I could buy the products that you use here in the states! The food looks fabulous, but I was hoping to read more about Archie…..No pressure 😉

  23. So good to have you back, Charlie, and to learn that the reason for your absence wasn’t anything more serious than telecommunications. Such a great event to attend. Good food and a bag full of goodies to take home. You can’t beat that!

  24. Pssst! I would not have minded sidling up to THAT gentleman: HE really knows how to cook and is a firm vegetarian to boot . . . not that I am but I love his and his partner’s dishes! Welcome back and a happy Easter!!

  25. Welcome back Charlie! So glad to hear that you’ve been having fun 😀 (the event bit, not the Telstra bit).

  26. That was a long exile, Charlie. I kept looking for you thinking that surely I had somehow become disengaged and had just lost you! But you’ve been busy, I’m sure. And this event was lovely, with great offerings, seems to me!

  27. Which one of you will be swimming in the older group? We missed you while you were in purgatory.

    I have used Leggo products since I moved to Australia. I’ll check out the new pasta sauce and maybe I won’t need to make my own any more. 🙂

  28. Wow ~ Look at all that foodie goodness 🙂

  29. What a great event. You have the best foodie events near you. I’m sure we do too. I’m just so not in the loop on anything these days. 😉

  30. Beautiful outfit…and evening. I’m glad that you’re back! Thank you so much for sharing. Delicious, as always…and inspiring! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  31. An event with all Italian food is always a winner …. let alone the entertainment and the people! Welcome back!!!

  32. Welcome back Charlie – I have missed your posts and am so sorry to hear your absence is for Telstra-related reasons instead of, say, being off cruising somewhere or similar.

    This is a great post to return with, not least because I know and love the Leggos brand but had no idea about the background. What a wonderful story. And what a wonderful collection of guests and celebrities!

  33. Oh, I LOVE that long table…so beautifully set! And the food and guest list were top notch as well! Lucky you!!! I’m so glad you’re reconnected…I’m wondering if my house would be cleaner and more organized if my Internet service disappeared for a couple weeks? Nope, don’t want to even fathom the possibility. Happy, happy Easter, my friend!!! xo

  34. Great to have you back Charlie!! Have a wonderful weekend!

  35. Isn’t it great finding a company that produces almost homemade sauces? It makes for wonderful dinners without all the prep. I’ll have to try your recipe.. but search out a brand similar here for an Italian sauce.. who knows, maybe they have crossed the ocean and are in my shops. I’ll have a look! What a fun evening for you!!

  36. It sounds like you had a fun evening with celebrities and good food…it doesn’t get much better than that.

  37. Love that long table. Sounds like you had a great time.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, With A Spin.

  38. Sounds just such a fun event! And I bet that pasta sauce is great! It’s hard to find a good jarred sauce sometimes.

  39. Looks like such a fabulous evening. Love the table! And I am crazy about the handwriting on the chalkboard…of course, the food looks delectable too!

  40. looks liek you had a gorgeous time! was wonderful reading about it! x

  41. So pleased to have you back in the airwaves Charlie! I don’t know how you survived so long without the internet – if that happened in our house there’s be a riot!
    Nice pictures, too.

  42. Welcome back – I was getting worried there. Now please, please without delay – post the next installment of ‘Days of our Boarding Schools..

  43. WoW!! Look at all the goodies you got to take home!! And that singing!! What a treat. Those sauces with no yucky preservatives sound amazing!! I happened to notice a comment about links and advertising…I have noticed that on my blog, too. Makes me mad because I pay for my blog and I don’t appreciate it. Do you know how to get rid of them???? Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to offer.

    • Hi Jo, I’m still not sure exactly how to get around the problem but I have been told I have a virus in my browser and to delete the browser and use a different one. I’ve been using firefox but I’m going to upload my next post using safari and I hope there will be no more links. Good luck to you and I hope you can get rid of it too – so annoying!

  44. Oh, and Welcome Back to bloggy land!! Can’t believe I forgot that!!! xoxo

  45. Lovely photos & great joy here 🙂

    Re your ‘Telstra imposed exile’, I can only imagine AND I SO BELIEVE IT. I’m not impressed. Bound into a contract and hating it.


  46. Hooray, you’re back! And with a bang – pasta sauce, opera singers and Olympians! Nice to hear and see you again, Charlie! xx

  47. What a fun event!!!!! Tomato products made from properly ripened tomatoes and natural ingredients (just like home made), how fortunately to have such products readily available!

  48. We missed you!!! But you seem to have kept quite entertained hobnobbing with celebs and scoping out new recipes.

  49. Looks like a great night. Nothing like meeting those you admire. welcome back Charlie!

  50. The product looks delicious but the event looks incredible! What a lucky you! Welcome back!

  51. Welcome back! You were missed. 😉 I’ve not heard of the Leggo brand (well Lego the toys, but that’s quite different of course!) but it sounds good. And the whole event sounds like a lot of fun – glad you enjoyed it.

  52. No internet for two weeks – goodness me, I’d have been most upset. I think I can tether my cellphone to my computer though so it wouldn’t have all been lost though :D.

    Looks like you had a good time though – that looks like a wonderful evening.

  53. WELCOME BACK Charlie 🙂 Sorry it’s taken me a few days to come by and drop a comment ~ My sister and parents have been in town so I have been spending time with them during Easter!

    I am so glad that you are finally back online! I Have really missed your posts! Ohhhh what a great review and event to attend! I actually bought the new vine ripe pasta sauce and have tried it sooooo good and definitely much more flavour than the regular ones 🙂

  54. What a fun event, made even more so by getting to meet some of your heroes. Everything looks delicious. I know we don’t get Leggo here, in fact, it is the name of a kid’s building block set in the States. But it sounds like lovely sauce and tomato products. So glad to have you back, Charlie Louie!

  55. That long table looks divine and very, very Italian. Lovely to meet you today and now I will be catching up on a few blog posts I have missed over the past mad few days. Good to hear of a great pasta sauce, I use them ALL the time… one day I will make my own but….

  56. Nice to see you back and doing what you do best… looks like you had a great time….no internet for two weeks i don’t know how you coped

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