If you say pizza, you’re saying Italy. Pizza is love, tradition, conviviality, something familiar that everyone agrees on. With a pizza in front of you, you make peace, you laugh and all is right with the world.
A local delight, now to be appreciated from abroad, that will soon see Calabria as the protagonist. Bringing it across the border will be the pizzeria Lievito that will open a franchise in the heart of London this November. The popular pizzeria of Reggio Calabria will land on Fulham Road, located in one of the posh areas of the capital city, between the districts of South Kensington and Chelsea.
The concept of Lievito breaks the mold of the classic pizzeria and bar, with a specific philosophy that marries innovation with authenticity without sacrificing tradition; researched without ignoring simplicity, the good things without forgetting the land they came from.
We met Rocco Caridi, founder of Lievito with Francesco Donato, an expert on baking and leavening, who gave us an exclusive peak into what’s in the pipeline.
“Lievito” has become a reference point for the people of Reggio and more recently, many Italians, thanks to the gastronomic competition launched by the web portal Gastronauta to find the best pizzeria in Italy. Your pizzeria took second place with 7264 votes, you must be pleased!
Yes, the competition kept us in suspense until the last second. However, we are pleased to have achieved second place, also because the gap separating first place from second was only a few votes. We have received the support and esteem of so many people. A sign that we are doing well.
Where did the idea come from of landing in a Big City?
Before anything else, the desire to grow and take on new challenges. Then, the concept of our pizzeria, namely: the blend of innovation and authenticity without forfeiting tradition. For us, London is the city that would be most welcoming to our product. It is an important trial run, but it will allow us to consolidate our product. Additionally, we have received the encouragement and esteem of many people.
You talked about innovation, authenticity and tradition. Tell us more about what these words mean for a pizzeria such as Lievito.
Ours is an innovative product because in order to make our pizza dough, we use a mixture of special flour, created by us, which gives the crust a crunchy texture and unbefore seen organoleptic property. The genuineness comes from the use of highly selected products and through the maturation process of the dough, taking place in a natural way over nearly 72 hours, making the pizza highly digestible and healthier. Lastly, our pizza does not ignore tradition because it is made with a starter yeast created by us, made with a barrel of craft beer.
Speaking of beer, Lievito is also known for the careful selection of craft beers. Will they be featured in the new London club?
Absolutely yes. The Lievito concept will be the same as seen in Reggio Calabria, both in style and identity, so there will be room for a careful selection of craft beers painstakenly made in Italy.
For those unfamiliar with Lievito and its concept, how will the new location in London look?
The venue will have a minimal and essential style, the main feature will be the earthenware oven, which is the hub of the restaurant and where the customer will have the opportunity to see how the pizza is made. Moreover we’ll also feature real time cooking, a show in which those who wish to, may learn how to make pizza to perfection. The goal is to see the triumph of the Made in Italy brand, but also that of Calabria.
Of course! In addition to Calabrian expertise, Lievito will bring something else to London from the tip of the boot. To give us some additional news is attorney, Maurizio Romolo (Legal Studio of Romolo & Ruggiero), experts in business franchising. Operating in the UK for many years, they will accompany Lievito on this exciting adventure. “Our law firm has been assisting Lievito in the exciting growth of its franchise in Italy, per our suggestion and agreement by the Lievito team. London, with its sixteen million residents, is a potentially huge market for Lievito. We have received the franchise agreement and now we can move ahead. The style of the restaurant will be a blend of Italy and the UK. For this reason we are relying on the Italian-British design studio of Fabrica Architecture Limited, led by architects Pierluigi Chinellato and Katherine Leat. In addition, as you anticipated, for this London adventure we have included some Calabrian delights from the food and wine sector that will be featured in the pizzeria,” adds Romolo.
“There will be, in fact, an authentic taste of Calabria, thanks to the presence of companies that have accepted this challenge. To name a few, we begin with Mauro Caffè, Azienda Agricola Acton and Carbone for EVO, Benedetto and Cooperativa Diamante for cured meats, Colavolpe for sweets, Surianoli for preserves, Artigiano della Nduja by Luigi Caccamo of Spilinga, and several wineries. All products can be tasted, purchased and will be included in the enjoycalabria branding. Even the same company that is performing the renovations on Fulham Road, RA Projects & Construction Ltd, “speaks Calabrian,” concludes Romolo.
This is not only a great opportunity for the team of Lievito but also for all of Calabria and the many companies that will have the opportunity to present Calabrian products to one of the most important cities in the world. We from Yes Calabria hope that this success story continues!