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Jovial Foods Co-Founder, CEO Passes Away

Specialty Food Association

After a brief illness, Co-founder and CEO of Jovial Foods and Bionaturae, Carla Bartolucci, passed away at the age of 53 on May 22, at her home in Italy, surrounded by her family.

Bartolucci was an entrepreneur with a vision that delicious and nutritious ingredients can and should be available to all. Her work over three decades in the organic food industry ensured a market for artisan-crafted, Italian-made products that are also allergen-friendly and produced with the highest sustainability standards.

Bartolucci launched Jovial Foods in 2010, after having worked in the organic food sector in the United States and Italy for over twenty years. A Connecticut native who grew up in an Italian-American family passionate about food and farming, she was driven by the desire to find delicious and nutritious options for her daughter who suffered from a gluten sensitivity, without compromising flavor for health.

Married to Jovial co-founder, Italian born and raised, Rodolfo Viola, Bartolucci’s resounding success came from a true blending of her American problem-solving mindset and forward-thinking health consciousness, mixed with her Italian dolce vita sensibility.

Among her many contributions to the consumer packaged goods and culinary industries, Bartolucci brought to light einkorn—an ancient species of wheat, and one which many people who have a wheat/gluten sensitivity can actually enjoy because of its genetics—when little was known about the variety and its potential. Bartolucci led Jovial to become the largest producer of einkorn, which the company grows in Italy, under strict sustainability standards and in partnership with small artisanal farms.

Jovial is also known for its gluten-free and grain-free pastas, jarred tomatoes and beans, and olive oil pressed from three ancient olive varieties, which Jovial is helping to protect from extinction.

In addition, Bartolucci was a successful cookbook author. Her book, Einkorn, Recipes for Nature’s Original Wheat (Clarkson Potter, 2015), detailed her personal quest and introduced home cooks to the little-known, unaltered grain, guiding them to incorporate it into a wide variety of delicious savory and sweet dishes to add more nutrition and flavor.

Bartolucci’s oldest daughter, Giulia, will be joining the company to help continue its mission.

Image: Jovial Foods