Fratelli is a rustic little deli and cafe that opened its doors in Port Elizabeth’s Baakens Valley at the beginning of the year. It’s owned by Michelle Puggia, a member of the third generation Italian family behind Fratelli Foods, an Umhlanga-based concern that imports and distributes premium Italian produce like La Dolce Vita Caffe, Pantaleo olive oil, Ambra pasta and all sorts of delightful “dolce” and biscuits.
Having worked in the family business for some years, it was always Michelle’s dream to open a deli with a small cafe attached to it. Her premises inside a charming old warehouse at the bottom of the valley are cosy and relaxed, with patrons seated at quaintly mismatched tables and chairs or on comfy built-in benches. Old black-and-white photographs adorn the rough walls and patrons enjoy their coffee and meals surrounded tempting Italian products (including one of my favourite Italian bubblies, Trevisiol prosecco) displayed on open shelves. There’s a photographer’s studio next door, so it’s great fun having a discreet peek while they are shooting in the warehouse’s most marvellous natural light.
What’s on the menu
The La Dolce Vita coffee is potent and excellent – of course one would not expect anything less from a self-respecting Italian foodie family. But if you’re in the mood for something cold, try the Niasca Limonata, a zesty soft drink with far less sugar and additives (and slightly less sparkle) than the inferior tinned stuff.
Food wise they do not disappoint either. My chicken and butternut salad with walnuts and red kidney beans was fresh, generous and very different, not to mention definitely worth a repeat order, while my hubby and cafe-cruising partner, Salvelio, was equally pleased with his prosciutto, cheese, tomato and basil panino.
There’s a great little selection of Italian-inspired breakfasts to choose from as well as panini, piadina (thin Italian flatbreads), salads and antipasti. Dessert wise the options are limited, but the carrot cake, if they have it, is chunky, moist and beautifully spiced.
Fratelli Foods is open Monday to Saturday from 7.30am to 4pm.
Taste for yourself:
082 877 6411
Words: Louise Liebenberg
Images: Fredlin Adriaan