Wednesday was my Italian day. Fabio came for my fortnightly Italian lesson and I told him about meeting Lucia that evening at La Mia Mamma. That led to him telling me about Prezzemolo & Vitale, an Italian delicatessen, also in King’s Road, Chelsea. Fabio was enthusiastic about how good it was and as Prezzemolo & Vitale comes from Palermo in Sicily – where Fabio also comes from – I decided it must be worth taking a look before meeting my friends at the restaurant. The King’s Road is a long road but fortunately the two were quite close together – just a 5-minute walk apart.
Prezzemolo & Vitale began over 30 years ago in Palermo, a partnership between Giuseppe Prezzemolo whose family ran an artisanal grocery store, and Giusi Vitale whose family owned a small supermarket. They now have 6 shops in Palermo and one in London, with another due to open here soon. Meanwhile, if you can’t get to Chelsea, you can order online (click here).
The ‘marriage’ of artisan food and supermarket is evident as soon as you walk into Prezzemolo & Vitale. It is a bit like a small supermarket but everywhere you look you see wonderful Italian food of the highest quality.
I looked at the ready-made meal section first. This was full of gorgeous looking food: Aubergine Parmigiana, Sicilian Caponata, lasagna, seafood and chicken dishes. I hadn’t intended to buy anything. I only had time for a quick look and was then heading to the restaurant, but when my eyes settled on a dish of Pesto Genovese that looked as good as the kind I’d enjoyed in Genoa in May, I couldn’t resist buying some. While the woman behind the counter weighed some out for me, we chatted, then someone else came to talk. Everyone was so friendly!
I walked further round the counter and saw fabulous salads.
Then nuts, oils and jams. Fabio had told me their own make – Giù Giù – mandarin jam was wonderful. In my hurry I bought some jam but the wrong make, but I’m sure it will be good too.
I continued slowly walking round the shop. There was a wonderful display of cheeses, cold meats …
… fresh pasta and cakes.
In the fridge there were packs of cold meats and fresh cheeses like mozzarella and burrata. A lovely display of vegetables and fruit held some tempting huge, round aubergines. Aubergines are such a big part of Sicilian food – dishes like Pasta alla Norma and Caponata.
At the back there is a wine section. This included some bottles of top quality sparkling wine from Italy. We tend to think of Italian sparkling wine as prosecco, but there are some which are good enough – though more expensive – to seriously challenge champagne, including Ferrari and Franciacorta. The shop prides itself on stocking not only Italian classic wines but rarities of small winemakers.
At the counter where I paid for my two items, there were more lovely cakes, fabulous looking focaccia, and there was a coffee machine if you wanted to buy a coffee to take away. This is definitely somewhere to suit all food needs: a quick coffee and cake, takeaway lunch, takeaway evening meal, fabulous cheeses and meats, and great wine.
I plan to go back soon with my car and a large shopping bag! Meanwhile, I enjoyed the pesto I bought as a simple supper the next evening, stirred into some trofie pasta, a favourite in Genoa and perfect for pesto.
The pesto I had in Genoa was extraordinarily good – well, it does originate from there – and quite different from the kind we find in supermarkets here. The Pesto Genovese I bought in Prezzemolo & Vitale was so good that it instantly took me back to Genoa and what I’d eaten there. What a great find and a fantastic place for those who love Italian food. It really is like being in Italy!