Fabio and Piero
The Italians provides a truly tempting array of authentic breads and pastries made fresh every day on the premises by its own Master Bakers – and you’re welcome to sample them!
Wander into The Italians on Chiswick High Road and you’re seduced by a mouth-watering array of culinary sights and aromas.
If you weren’t feeling peckish beforehand, then be warned, you soon will be! Fortunately enough, as Manager Massimo Lopez tells me, customers are welcome to taste any of the delicious fine foods on offer.
‘After all, how else would you know if you like something?’ he says with a broad smile. ‘Customers can try anything they want – cheese, bread, prosciutto, pasta, pizza… We’re
always making new additions to our menu, for example we’ve just introduced Roman-style pizza al taglio with different toppings. We love people to sample what we sell. That’s what we’re all about.’
Massimo is particularly proud of the fresh bread and pastries made every day at the café and deli. ‘We’re fortunate to have our own oven, so that means we can do all the bakery from scratch in-house,’ he explains.
‘We import flour from Italy and make a wonderful range of classic Italian breads: sourdough white, sourdough three malts, ciabatta, Sicilian-style bread, rustic baguette, sfilato with olives, sfilato with tomatoes, seven cereal, focaccia and a selection of soft butter bread rolls. Also, we produce all our own grissini, biscotti, cantucci, friselle and taralli Pugliesi.’
Of course, someone has to do the hard graft behind the scenes and, at The Italians, that is Piero and Fabio, the two Master Bakers. ‘They come in at 3am every morning,’ says Massimo. ‘By the time we open for business at 7.30am most of the bread is made and ready for sale, then at about 10am we begin preparing the pizza dough.
‘Our bread is exactly the same as you’d expect to get back home (Massimo is from Calabria). Personally, I’d recommend the sourdough. It’s made with dough saved from a previous baking which has been left to ferment. We call it lievito madre. The idea is that this older dough is added to freshly-made dough to create a more intense flavour in less time. It’s very good – 100% natural with no extra yeast, salt or chemicals.’
Creating close relationships with food and wine suppliers in Italy lies at the heart of the culinary philosophy of The Italians (in a nice touch, photographs of said suppliers adorn the walls). ‘Everything we sell comes directly from Italy, so every month two of our team go to talk to them,’ confirms Massimo.
‘In September and October we’ll have people in Tuscany and Puglia. We want to educate our staff and they, in turn, can advise our customers. In some cases, we’ve worked with producers for 20 years and they have become friends; we also invite one of them to London each month to meet our customers and host tasting events.’ (Details on the Facebook page)
Further developing the ‘made on site’ theme, from September The Italians will be offering fresh filled pasta at weekends. ‘We’re going to bring in someone from 11am for two or three hours just to make ravioli and tortellini,’ says Massimo. ‘Customers will be able to watch the process – and then eat the pasta here or take it home. And I promise you, it will taste as if nonna had made it in Italy!’
454-456 Chiswick High Road,
Chiswick W4 5TT