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Cafe-Deli Review: Sapori TW1, Twickenham

November 6, 2013

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We West Londoners are great Italophiles so it’s not surprising that there is an abundance of Italian restaurants, cafes and delicatessens – salumerie – in my local Twickenham area. We have our own ‘Little Italy’ going on here and most of the places are run by Italians. The latest deli/cafe to open is Sapori TW1 where I went a couple of weeks ago for the Monviso Wine Tasting, for which they provided some great appetisers to go with our wine selection.

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Sapori TW1 is owned and run by Andrea – who comes from Venice – and Ingrid, who is half Austrian. I stopped by this afternoon to talk to Andrea and find out more about what they sell and ask about their plans for the future.

Sapori is on the site of a former Italian restaurant and deli, Angelo’s, which was a local favourite for over 25 years. It was originally run by Angelo, who came from Tuscany, and his wife, who my children when they were little always referred to as Mrs Angelo. They were a lovely couple and going to Angelo’s was a regular Saturday outing for us at one time. Once they retired back to Italy it came under new ownership and was never quite the same and closed down a few months ago. The new Italian deli has no connection to the old Angelo’s but perhaps this corner location should be renamed Italy Corner with the opening of Sapori. Andrea and Ingrid have done a wonderful job doing the premises up in a really simple but stylish way. In fact, a way that Italians excel at. It’s a delight to go in and very friendly and inviting.

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Sapori is only about a 5-minute walk from my home and I have to walk past it to go into Twickenham high street, or indeed anywhere much on foot, so I pass it at least once a day. What first drew me in was their window. It’s an inviting window, packed with excellent produce. But what particularly attracted me was seeing tins of Acquerello rice.

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Acquerello rice is the hottest risotto rice in town, used not only in Jamie’s Italian restaurants but the fabulous Tinello, which has fast become one of my favourite restaurants. I was given a tin of Acquerello rice at the La Credenza Food Event in March and was highly impressed but had been unable to buy more. So when I saw Sapori had some, I just had to go in.

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Sapori is open from 7.00 a.m. until 7.00 p.m. every week day, and until 5.00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For breakfast you can enjoy coffee, pastries or cake and some spremuta d’arancia – fresh squeezed orange juice, Italian style. For lunch there are filled focaccia or baguettes, warm lasagne (and soon to come, soup) or plates of Italian meats or cheese. The fridge is filled with prosciutto, mortadella, speck and Italian cheeses like Taleggio, Provolone, Pecorino and Gorgonzola. They also have burrata – another hot favourite Italian food at the moment: a mixture of mozzarella and cream encased in a mozzarella shell. It is very delicious!

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The shelves are full of other wonderful things: jars of fig mustard, tuna and fillets of sardines and anchovies in oil, bottles of good quality extra virgin olive oil, De Cecco dried pasta and dried porcini mushrooms.

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With Christmas coming, there are hampers full of Italian treats and fine foods. And of course that Italian Christmas special – panettone: a gorgeous sweet bread that originally came from Milan and is eaten at Christmas and New Year.

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Sapori have a drinks licence and sell bottles of wine but you can also buy wine by the glass, so maybe early evening you’d like to go for aperitivo – a glass of wine or prosecco with a mixed plate of meat and cheeses.

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Andrea told me they plan to extend the licence to stay open longer from next spring and for the summer will make a proper decked eating area outside for people to enjoy their aperitivo or a light supper in the evening. They will also be selling some wonderful Italian ice cream which for this Italian gelato lover is going to be a huge temptation on a daily basis as they are practically on my doorstep!

What I love about Sapori is the quality of their goods. I’ve so often been disappointed to see new delis open and then go inside to find it’s disappointing, fairly ordinary stuff you can as easily buy in the supermarket. But not at Sapori. Their produce are the real Italian thing and it’s definitely worth venturing a bit further up the high street in Twickenham for a really good Italian food and wine adventure and the warm welcome that Andrea and Ingrid give their customers.

Update April 2015: Sapori has changed a bit since it opened. Still same lovely people but more of a cafe now than deli.

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