Growing up on her family’s farm in the Netherlands allowed model Esti Van Balen to develop a passion for clean, organic eating from a young age. She learned to cook healthy meals using produce from her dad’s vegetable garden, and has carried her love for nutritious home cooking into adulthood. While living and working in New York City, Esti fell in love with a cauliflower-based alternative to gnocchi. Low in calories and fat, cauliflower gnocchi was a simple and delicious meal to prepare that provided infinitely more nutrients than traditional pasta. Unable to find any similar products upon her return to Europe, Esti teamed up with a friend who shared her love for cauliflower gnocchi, and together they came up with their own European-based brand, Blocchi (a play on the Dutch word for cauliflower, “bloemkool,” and gnocchi.) During quarantine in 2020, Esti perfected the recipe with cauliflower from her family farm. Currently, Blocchi is in development in Italy with an all-natural, organic food producer and brand developer. Esti has plans to launch the product this fall, and make the healthy and simple meal accessible to a wide range of consumers across Europe.
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