Burscough based Italian importers Rafala UK are making sure we can still eat the Italian way
Due to the impact coronavirus has had on it’s wholesale trade, Rafala UK, a well-established Italian family supplier of fine food and wine, has transformed it’s business into domestic deliveries, so we don’t miss out on top quality Italian ingredients while our favourite restaurants are closed.
Thanks to their close links with the finest producers, you can now have a genuine taste of Italy delivered to your door in the form of their made-to-order pizza kits.
We've all had to adapt and learn a lot of new skills but we are happy we can help keep people at home and even better if they are learning to cook the Italian way!
You pay £10 for the base kit, which includes 2kg of real Italian 00 pizza flour, 50g dried yeast, 500g 100% grated mozzarella (vegan also available), and three tins of aromatic pizza sauce – that’s enough to make around 8 pizzas. (Although most of the ingredients have a long shelf life so you don’t have to make them all at once.) The kit also comes with a recipe card.
Then, you can have fun choosing how to customise your pizzas from a list of standard or premium toppings. To make it easy, all standard toppings are £2 each (500g grated mozzarella, 1 buffalo mozzarella, 150g sliced Mortadella, 1 tub of sundried tomatoes, 130g green/red pesto, 150g pepperoni (mild or spicy), 250g chopped cooked ham or 150g Sicilian pecorino cheese) and all premium toppings are £3.50 (300g Sicilian black pitted olives, 250g fresh Tuscan sausages (fennel or spicy), 150g sliced cured meat antipasto misto, 150g goats cheese discs, 210g jar of anchovy fillets, 300g N’duja (100% Calabrian spicy spreadable pork) and 250ml flavoured extra-virgin olive oil (chilli, basil, lemon or white truffle.)
Customers can also request other toppings and Rafala can see if they already have them in stock or can get hold of them. You can also customise boxes or gift hampers to include selections of cured meat, jars of vegetables, Italian cheeses, antipasto and sweet biscuits.
If you need something to wash all that down with over the sunny Bank Holiday weekend, Rafala are also offering other set boxes – such as aperitivo for those who like Aperol Spritz, or special Italian wine selections.
“We usually supply small independent restaurants/bars/delis across Liverpool and Lancashire mainly,” says owner Stefano Rafala. “But of course many of them had to close due to the outbreak and very few of them stayed open for takeaway. So the business took a big hit.
“We are a small company of just six staff and we rely on the trade of these other small businesses. Actually, before the outbreak started we had decided to branch out into domestic orders and had sent a few customised hampers out as special requests that were really well received. We were in the process of setting up a website and testing the water a bit more with this new side of the business when the virus hit, so this has sort of forced us into doing it sooner and without being fully prepared, but it has been going well so far.
“We launched some set boxes on our Facebook page and then joined LIDS, who promote home deliveries from local businesses and it started from there really. The pizza boxes themselves were inspired by some of our first customers who were having pizza making classes over Zoom during lockdown and stumbled across our Facebook page desperate for flour/authentic ingredients that could be delivered to their homes. They then told their friends and we ended up sending out 'pizza kits' that weekend.
“We noticed that a lot of people are getting into cooking now they have more time at home and pizza seemed to be really popular. So we introduced a pizza kit to our delivery options and it really took off.
"The way we work has changed - unfortunately some of our warehouse staff have had to be furloughed due to the need for social distancing and the loss of a large part of our income so we are now a very tiny company, but we hope that won't last long.
View this post on InstagramWe can create customised boxes and hampers containing whatever you are after. You can make specific requests or tell us what you like, give us a budget and we can surprise you. This one was made exclusively for @thewateringcanliverpool . Get in touch to sort one out for yourself!
A post shared by Rafala UK (@rafala_uk) on
"Everyone is just really busy trying to keep the business afloat and stay safe. We try to keep the warehouse as empty of people as possible, with the staff who are still there practising social distancing and keeping everything clean constantly. We have one delivery driver who does contactless deliveries and we don't take cash payments for this reason. He is the only person who has contact with the goods once they reach us and he uses a clean pair of gloves for every delivery ensuring everything is as safe as we can make it. We've all had to adapt and learn a lot of new skills but we are happy we can help keep people at home and even better if they are learning to cook the Italian way!”
Delivery is free in Liverpool and £5 for Wirral.