Buon anniversario di 20 anni! (Happy 20th Anniversary)

These best wishes are addressed to Valentina Fine Foods who began trading in Sheen in May 1991. According to Managing Director Fabio Arcari, “Together with Bruno, my uncle, we started the business in Sheen with the aim of creating an authentic Italian-run delicatessen, with high quality, home style cuisine, cook’s ingredients and Italian regional wine selection. Today, we have three sites: the original one in Sheen, Putney and Sevenoaks.”

Valentina was named after the daughter of one of the founding families. The Zoccolas and the Arcaris originated Saint Elia, a rocky hill about 130km southeast of Rome, approximately 2km to the west of the town of Cassino. Both families left Italy in 1958, but took with them their love of traditional cooking which reflected the meals of shepherds and farmers and were made from a few ingredients, prepared simply. The family settled in the UK in 1959, and after a number of food inspired ventures, settled on the idea of developing a local delicatessen that would remind them of their local essential shops from home and so, Valentina was born.

Today, the team, spearheaded by third generation family members, Fabio, Antonio, Marco and Carmine not only offer an extensive delicatessen range, including fresh hams and salamis, cheeses and traditional antipasti, but also a complete range of store cupboard essentials – as well as specials, cooked from the finest ingredients every day in their own kitchen.

“Initially we intended to simply be a delicatessen,” says Fabio, “but we became so popular that we eventually opened a restaurant behind the delicatessen in 2007. Because of its success, we have done exactly the same at our premises in Putney and Sevenoaks. We are always looking for new sites but the intention is to remain in south London.’’

The company is always looking to innovate. They had, for a short period, a concession at Harvey Nichols in London, where they served Spuntino – an Italian-style tapas. This proved very successful so now it is on offer at their Putney delicatessen/Restaurant. They have developed a range of more than 70 Valentina products, including tomato sauce, pastas and even flavoured olive oils. Fabio says “Each year we return to our family farm in Italy to help with the olive harvest for our own olive oil, egg pasta is made daily in our kitchens and every product that we sell has been tasted and selected by the team – all of whom were either born in Italy, or have Italian roots. Our Parma ham carries the genuine “Parma” stamp and has been aged for a minimum of 15 months while our San Danièle ham has been aged slightly longer to give it a darker and sweeter taste.

“We have recently set up a Shop website and operate with a courier. To our surprise we have not only had orders from all over the UK but also from abroad and even one from Italy! With this service we can offer bakery products, confectionery, groceries, oil and vinegar, beer, wine, liqueurs and spirits as well as seasonal products and hampers.”

Venire ed aiutarci celebra il nostro compleanno!

For further information please telephone 0208 877 9906 or visit www.valentinafinefoods.com.

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