"I want people to feel like they are walking into my grandmothers house when they come to Peppina. "
Angelo Fichera never forgot the food that his grandmother served him in Sicily as a boy and now years later he has opened an authentic Italian canteen in Swanage, Dorset and named it after her.
Peppina has opened in Institute Road, Swanage and Angelo is baking the bread and making the fresh pasta on the premises just as his grandmother Peppina taught him. He hopes that grandmother’s cooking will be a recipe for success as he has plans to open more branches.
Angelo said: “My grandmother died when I was young but as a kid I always remember her teaching me how to make her favourite recipes and I still remember the techniques she taught me now. Her signature dish was a maccheroni in a rich tomato sauce and we have something very similar on the menu at Peppina. All of her food was delicious so she was definitely my inspiration when launching the restaurant.
“I want people to feel like they are walking into my grandmother’s house when they come to Peppina.”
The new restaurant serves pizza, pasta and desserts and Angelo says that the key to good Italian cooking is using the best fresh ingredients. For the pasta he uses organic flour from Sicily.
Angelo said: “I cook typical Italian recipes - Carbonara, ragu and pasta alla Norma which is a staple Sicilian dish. The recipes are simple but effective and all the ingredients are as fresh and authentic as possible.
“The pasta is made from durum wheat which is high in protein. Many people worry about pasta being a high carb dish but when done right it’s actually very healthy. You can eat pasta every day like the Italians do and be fit like us!
“In fact we have been open a few weeks now and we have several customers coming back every day for the same pasta dish. Word of mouth seems to be spreading and we’re really pleased that people are enjoying the food.
“It’s also about the experience when you come to Peppina. I cook the food right in front of the customers so they can see exactly what goes in to it and how fresh it is. I can also explain while I’m cooking about the recipes. That’s what I mean when I say you’re coming to our house, it’s exactly what I’d do if I had friends over for dinner.”
And the pasta isn’t the only star of the show. Angelo’s pizza is made with fresh sourdough and sold by the slice. Crispy on the bottom, it is made from a secret blend of organic flours to give it it’s recognisable rustic taste.
Peppina also sells traditional desserts and ice cream as well as bread and pastries – the full taste of Italy.
Angelo continued: “Earlier this year I spent some time in Milan on a pasta-making course to freshen up Peppina’s tecniques and it is fantastic to bring that to Swanage, where we are now trying out new dishes all the time.
“We created spaghetti alle vongole, using fresh clams, for the Swanage Fish Festival and it was so popular we had to bring it back.
“People can eat in at Peppina or take the treats home with them or back to their workplace for a lunchtime treat. You can spend five minutes with us or two hours but I hope that the outcome is the same – satisfied taste buds and customers who want to come back time and again.”
For more information visit www.peppina.uk or follow the Facebook page.