Slow fast food
A closer look at our ingredients
Good food takes time. That’s why, since opening our first pizzeria in Brixton Market in 2008, we’ve championed slow-rising sourdough pizza and properly sourced, small supplier, seasonal ingredients. When you eat at Franco Manca, you support people working close to the land. Small farms = Big taste
It’s good to know where the things on your plate come from.
THE FLOUR *0*
We make our food with few ingredients, so the right flour is essential. Ours is 100% Italian. It’s made especially for us by the Pivetti family, using a unique blend of all-Italian grains. The Pivettis have grown, harvested, milled and blended grains in their fields near Bologna since 1895. So you could say they’ve had a bit of practice. Plus, their fields are protected and are at least 40 miles from any pollutants. No other pizza tastes like ours because no other pizzeria uses our flour.
The secret to our sourdough is our starter. Dating back to the late 18th century, it was procured by our founder Giuseppe from a bakery near his hometown of Naples. It’s a live culture of flour, water and wild yeast. Until the middle ages starters were essential for breadmaking. We still think it’s the most delicious way to make bread. Although the cultures in a starter morph over time, we love the dedication and continuity our starter represents. It stretches back through time like a family tree. Every day we feed our starter and ferment our dough for at least 24 hours, before making it into the foundation for your pizza. Your pizza might take minutes to devour, but it was hundreds of years in making.
As Giuseppe will tell you, we made our mozzarella before we made our ovens. He knew he’d never be happy with his pizzas unless he had a ready source of superb mozzarella. So he persuaded his friend Albino Scalzitti to move from the southern Italian Apennines to Somerset and start production. Here he uses his skills and experience to create fresh, creamy mozzarella that would make any Italian proud.
We also serve Mozzarella di Bufala.
THE OTHER CHEESES
There’s more to cheese than mozzarella. Lots of our other cheeses come from award-winning suppliers, in Italy and the UK. These include a British ricotta, Colston Bassett Stilton, White Lake soft goats cheese, Montgomery’s Ogleshield, and Franco & Cantarelli Vegetarian Grana. Check our specials board for guest cheeses too.
CAPERS FROM SALINA
Our capers come from the tiny island of Salina, off the southern Italian coast, (where we also happen to have our only non-UK Franco Manca outpost). They’re picked in the area of Pollara and Malfa.
If you really want to impress your food-lover friends, you can tell them that our capers are of the Nocella variety, which grow plump, round and bright green with pinkish stripes. Our friend Antonino uses an ancient technique of reproducing the capers by plant cutting instead of planting seeds. This means he is able to cultivate only the best shrubs. It also means he can grow them wild and without any fertilisers, pesticides or added substances. Once picked, his caper berries and buds are cured in sea salt, for over a month and a half, during which the salt is regularly changed and the capers aired. Once they are ready, they are preserved in white wine vinegar, olive oil or under salt. Almost everything is done by hand to protect the delicate buds.
We’ve tried a lot of capers in our time, and none have matched those found on the island of Salina.
We serve British Bresaola from Cobble Lane, Cured Prosciutto from Tuscany D.O.P, Lightly spiced Ventricina salami from Veneto, Wild fennel salami IGP, and Wild Boar Mortadella from Umbria. Our free range sausages are from the Yorkshire Dales.
FREE RANGE ‘NDUJA
Spicy, spreadable, and very addictive, ‘nduja is a kind of pork salumi from Calabria, in the toe of Italy. Our ‘n’duja is free range and comes from Spilinga. It’s made from pigs who roam freely amongst forests of chestnut trees on the many small farms of the region. These pigs feast on chestnuts throughout the autumn. This gives the meat a special butteryness. The rest of the year they eat roots, vegetables and the spearmint and marjoram that grow amongst the grasses here, further adding to the flavour. Try it spread on sourdough bread, and look out for it on our pizza specials.
Our new summer No.7 pizza features our Spicy ‘nduja. It also has buffalo mozzarella, yellow tomatoes from Vesuvio, organic tomato & fresh basil.
Our chorizo is made by Martinez Somalo in the La Rioja region of Spain. It’s made with Pata Negra pork indigenous to the Iberian peninsula, it’s sweeter, nuttier, more intense and rich in flavour.
Tomatoes matter. Our tomatoes base is from 100% organic agriculture and 100% Italian. Our red piennolo dop tomatoes and yellow tomatoes come from the volcanic area of Vesuvio (Naples, Campania) and San Marzano from Dell’Argo Sarnese-Nocerino D.O.P.
One of our favourite items on our spring/summer menu is wild garlic. Every spring, our team go to the Dorset countryside to forage for this fresh and fragant ingredient. It’s perfect for picking in spring, just before the flowers bloom.
This year, a small team of pizzaioli from our Southampton and Bath pizzeria headed down to hand pick bags of wild garlic, ready to be made into our wild garlic pesto. Read more about it here >
You have to swim a lot of ocean to find the perfect anchovy. We found ours somewhere between Santander and Bilbao. Once a year, between the months of March and June, the young anchovies swimming in the Bay of Biscay reach their peak in fat content and flavour. The anchovies we use are caught only in those months, and only using traditional purse seine nets and sustainable surface fishing methods. Meaty, smooth and intense, they are then prepared using ancient salting methods by Arroyabe, a company whose founder first started catching fish and trading them for wine over a 100 years ago.
Pure Arabica, double selection – berry and beans – and flame roasted in 50kg batches by the Frasi family in Verona.
Always Italian. Always natural, organic and/or biodynamic. Our growers are committed to looking after the land, keeping it intact for future generations.
Made by us, from organic Sicilian lemons.
BETTER CHICKEN COMMITMENT