A PASSION for food

From a farm in Italy to the farmers markets of the United Kingdom, Carmelo finds his new home on Long Lane

Italian Street Italy Moped Fine Foods Long Lane

meet Carmelo, or as his friends would call him, ‘Melo’. Look out for him on Long Lane where he’s the charming proprietor of Fine Foods Deli.

Born in Monza forty years ago into a family of farmers producing olive oil, wine and cornflour, Melo worked and played on the family farm.

‘When I was 14 my first job was as a butcher,’ Melo explained. ‘It was natural for me to work with food. I was Garzone (apprentice), learning every little thing about the shop and continued working there until I was 28.’

‘Then I took a job as a sales agent for a food distribution company in the north of Italy. Five years later my best friend Davide, who was living in London, invited me to work with him on the weekend farmers markets. We did this job for a couple of years. It was nice to travel around and see the UK this way.’

Fine Foods Delicatessen London Long Lane Salad
‘Then we find this shop on Long Lane and Davide said to me, “You be in charge of the market and I will run the shop”. A few years later Davide decided to move to Australia.’

‘At this time me and Maria decided to take over the shop. I had just married this lovely girl and didn’t want to travel any more. What’s the point, marry a nice girl and then go to Edinburgh?’

‘For me this area is amazing. In this neighbourhood the people are lovely; professional people with nice families. Go to the Bermondsey Street Festival and see the beautiful people, it’s like Milan!’

‘In this area this kind of shop makes a difference, it’s part of the life, not like on Oxford Street with shop after shop. It’s nice here. I go out with my kids, to have a coffee in Bermondsey Street, eat some food. Everyone knows my kids, probably better than they know me!’

It looks like Melo is here to stay.

There are some things Melo has that you just won’t find anywhere else. Artichokes from Rome “Alla Giudia”, Mostarda di Frutta (sweet and spicy Italian-style mustard) or cheeses like the Capralpina that come from his family’s farms just north of Lake Como. ‘It’s the configuration and humidity of the caves there that makes this cheese so special,’ he chants with a passion.

His most exclusive product is the prized Bresoala from Valtellina, the muscle of beef cured for eight to twelve months.

Fine Foods Deli stock a range of hand picked quality Italian produce, from exclusive cheeses and hams through to an extensive selection of pastas. If you’re wanting to cook something really special then think about wandering down to this little curiosity shop of fine foods and talk with Melo and his team. They will explain every interesting detail about the quantities of egg in one type of pasta compared to another. There must be over 50 different pastas on the shelves.

Long Lane Delicatessen London Fine Foods Exterior Shop
Some of the products he has are made for exclusive Italian delicatessens and not intended for export outside of Italy. For this reason Melo’s wife, Maria, adds an extra label with an English translation so you can see the ingredients of every pot. They take this kind of service even further by explaining how to preserve these sauces by topping them up with olive oil to seal them. Olive oil added to his Cream of Truffle sauce will extend its life as well as creating a lovely truffle-infused dressing.

Ask them about olive oil and they’ll explain why bottles are made green to help block out sunlight and protect flavour. Or they’ll describe the olives from the mountains that are small and rich compared to the enormous, pale ones from Puglia that make sweeter oils when pressed.

Each of his team come from a different part of Italy and argue over which wine is the very best. There’s the Nebbiolo grape wines and the maturer version Barolo that has been kept in barrels for several years more. There’s Pinot Grigio blush and an extra dry Prosecco, all laid out before you.

Take a coffee first and chat with Melo or his team; Tullio (from Cuneo, Piemonte the home of Barolo the king of wines), Mattia (from Verona) or Stefano (from Milan). Pick their brains about the very best Italian produce and by the time you leave you’ll be sure to walk away with some very fine foods.

218 Long Lane
t: 020 7403 7513
e: info@finefoodse1.co.uk
w: www.finefoodse1.co.uk

Carmelo Fine Foods Deli Long Lane Italian Chef

“What’s the point, marry a nice girl and then go to Edinburgh?

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