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Celebrating 27 years of the Caffè Bar

Posted in Other News on Wednesday, 07 February 2024
Celebrating 27 years of the Caffè Bar In the 1990s, as the Europe markets opened to us, we were inspired by the wonderful food we were able to import. Instead of buying through agents and London suppliers, we were able to buy directly from small artisan producers, source new top quality products, and introduce our direct delivery of fruit and vegetables from the Milan markets.

You all loved it and wanted to know more. You tasted more and learned how to cook with the ingredients we provided.

Why not open a Caffè Bar in our shop? Serve our own home cooking, let our customers share our love of our Italian heritage.

We didn't want to leave Elm Row but we had no space... why not build in our back garden? And we did! With the help of our Uncle Vincenzo Silni (pictured) we built our secret sitting room, our 'back shop', which became the Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar as you know it today.

The rest, as they say, is history.

We have just reopened the Caffè Bar after some kitchen renovations. 27 years later, the kitchen may be brand new, but don't worry, nothing else has changed!

Recipe: Our Customers' Favourite Fonteluna Sugo


1 x 800g Rega San Marzano tomatoes (or 2 x 400g)
2 fresh bay leaves
2 teaspoons sea salt
3-4 tablespoons Fior Fiore extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Half a Fonteluna sausage (180g)


Prepare the tomatoes. Use a sharp knife to remove the stalk root at the top of each of the tomatoes and hand crush the pulp into a bowl.

Fill the empty tin a quarter full of warm water and rinse the tin of any extra juices. Add this liquid to the bowl.

Tear the bay leaves in half and add them and the salt to the tomatoes.

Set aside to infuse the flavours.

Use a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan with lid.

Add enough Fior Fiore extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the saucepan and begin to warm through. Add the onion, turn in the oil. Allow to soften gently for two minutes.

Add the chopped garlic, turn this in the oil and with the lid on the pot, very gently steam the onion and garlic for about 6-7 minutes until the onion is softened and translucent.

Do not burn the garlic.

Meanwhile, rinse the Fonteluna sausage in warm water so that the outer casing can be easily removed.

Slice finely and add to the onions and garlic, continue sautéing gently until the spices turn the oil a deep orange colour.

At this stage turn up the heat and immediately add the tomatoes, stirring to ensure tomatoes and oil are completely blended.

Cook on a very high heat for 10 minutes to amalgamate all the flavours and then turn the heat to a simmer and cook very gently with the lid balanced on a wooden spoon for 40-50 minutes until the sugo has reduced by a third. Check seasoning.

Use a 500g packet of La Molisana Rigatoni and serve with a mountain of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.