Silvestro Morlando, owner of Sud Italia pizza in Spitalfields Market, London, knows his pizza. ‘I grew up in Naples, where my family are bakers,’ he says. ‘When I moved to London to become a chef, I discovered my passion for making pizzas.’ Co-op product developer Kate Addison has come here to discuss what makes an authentic Neapolitan pizza. Sitting outside Silvestro’s sky-blue van, which has been selling pizza since 2015, they tuck into a freshly baked margherita. ‘Our dough is made using type 00 flour, baked in a specially built wood-fired oven,’ Kate tells Silvestro. ‘We also let our sourdough ferment for 24 hours to get the best flavour.’ ‘Traditional Neapolitan pizza is made using type 00 flour,’ Silvestro nods. ‘We use a mother dough called Maria, after my grandmother.’ ‘Ours is called Arturo!’ Kate laughs.
In response to customer demand, Silvestro makes up to 1,600 pizzas from his van every week — and there are plenty of similarities between the ones he produces and Co-op’s new Irresistible range. ‘Our pizzas are topped with San Marzano tomatoes that are grown in volcanic soil,’ Silvestro tells us. ‘They’re delicious.’ ‘We use them too — simply crushed,’ Kate replies. As they chat, it’s clear both have worked hard to source the best ingredients. ‘We top our pizza with 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto crudo, ’nduja…’ Kate says. ‘We use all of those too!’ Silvestro grins. ‘We also make a classic pizza topped with sausage and white broccoli!’
Silvestro makes up to 1,600 pizzas every week from his sky-blue van in London’s Spitalfields Market
Kate sits up. ‘We actually created a Co-op Members’ pizza, and they chose fennel sausage with broccoli and chilli.’ ‘You always have to strive to be the best,’ Silvestro says. ‘I’ve looked for the best ingredients I can, rather than the cheapest — the first thing we care about is quality.’ ‘It’s an ongoing journey,’ Kate agrees. ‘We’ve taken the lessons we learnt in Naples about pizza, and tried to recreate them as closely as we can.’ Despite the difference in scale, Silvestro thinks Co-op pizzas sound delicious — and judging by the empty pizza box, Kate feels the same about Sud Italia’s creations. ‘We might make different pizzas,’ Silvestro concludes, ‘but it’s with the same passion. There’s a lot of love in what we do.’
Find out more about Kate Addison here