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I heard about this deli over three years ago and have been meaning to go since. The story was that they had great Italian food but at non-ripoff prices since they are also a wholesalers.
Brendan mentioned it recently as a comment on this blog and we agreed to meet up last Saturday morning. He arrived with his Sardinian wife Laetitia and their two daughters. I arrived with numbers 2, 3 and 4.
However, we got there first and I decided it had shut down since there was no sign of a deli. The others arrived shortly after and drove over to this utterly non-descript industrial unit and there it was “The Boot’s Specialities”. I had seen the sign but assumed they were shoe distributors.
Unfortunately they also looked shut. Brendan rang Pasquale the onwer and it turned out he was inside prepping. He let us in with a big welcome a few minutes later.
Inside was a bunch of shelves with all sorts of pasta, sweets, drinks, sauces, wines, flour and ingredients. He had laid out some lovely cheese, olives, salami and mortadella to taste. My monsters started acting up so he broke out some bikkies too.
Laetitia and Brendan showed me all of the things they liked and I grabbed bits of everything. Some parma, salted capers, soup pasta, the Italian version of Monster Munch, olives, olive oil, coffee, those breakfast biscuits, the works.
I think we were the only people speaking English there and he was very busy. Not too busy tho to shock me by handing me an espresso he made himself using one of those stove top little pots. I think I love this man.
The reason I absolutely adored this deli was because it was the real stuff that real Italians eat. He didn’t have 16 different single estate extra virgin olive oils, he had one. He also didn’t have vintage red wine vinegar, just good normal stuff. Even more impressive was that many of the prices were far lower than you’d pay in Tesco!
I had a conversation with Haydn recently about the modern midle-class food fetishization that goes on. It seems sometimes like all those frou-frou shops are there to massage our gourmand egos rather than provide great food at good prices. I see Pasquale as the antidote to that.
He didn’t even mind when Oisín told him he talked funny :-) And those Monster Munch (Cipster) went down a storm with the kids.
I’ll be back very very soon without the fighting children to check out the fridge section. I’ll still need my advisors tho.