Nigel Williams presents My Taste with Bibendum Wine, a series of programmes interviewing renowned chefs and restaurateurs. Nigel will chat to the guests about their love of food and wine, discovering their favourite restaurants, wines and dishes, to give you the inside track. Our latest guests are brothers James and Thom Elliot, whose pizza pilgrimage through Italy in 2011 gave birth to the hugely successful Pizza Pilgrims restaurants.
THIS WEEK’S GUEST
JAMES & THOM ELLIOT
Brothers James and Thom Elliot came up with the idea for Pizza Pilgrims in a pub in Shepherd’s Bush in the summer of 2011. From there, they acquired a little 3-wheeled Piaggio Ape van, collected her from the South of Italy and spent six weeks driving her home.
As they made the journey through the famous cities and rural Italian villages, they learnt everything there is to know about pizzas from some of the most highly regarded pizzaoli in the world. They learnt about dough in Naples, mozzarella in Caserta and Basil in Genoa, and left no stone unturned during their six week “Pizza Pilgrimage.”
On returning to England, they installed an Italian stone oven in the Piaggio Ape van, and sold their first pizza in March 2012 in Berwick St market in Soho. Since then, the van has turned up at all kinds of UK events; from music festivals, to football matches, from “Verticle Dance” (that’s pole dancing) championships to bar mitzvahs.
In August 2013, following the great reception that their pizzas received; James and Thom opened their first Pizza Pilgrims’ pizzeria on Dean Street in their spiritual Soho home. They kept to the same formula – simplicity and authentic ingredients (albeit adding a football table and some dodgy tunes). The second Pizza Pilgrims pizzeria opened in Kingly Court in Summer 2014.
Authenticity, quality and simplicity is at the heart of their business. All the ingredients are shipped from in and around Naples. All the dough is handmade and proved for 24-48 hours, and they make sure that the oven runs at over 460 degrees centigrade (even in mid-summer) so the pizzas come out just right.
The Pizza Pilgrims van(s) still roam the country finding fun events to serve pizza at on their continuous pilgrimage - and the boys continue to learn more and more about the Pandora’s box that is great Neapolitan pizza.
Bibendum’s Wine Pick for James and Thom
James selected a dry Lambrusco to taste on the show saying ‘it got a terrible name in the ‘80s but is delicious!’ Bibendum therefore selected the Cavicchioli Lambrusco Emilia Rosso Secco NV. Packed full of fresh strawberry and ripe redcurrant flavours with fine and lively bubbles, it would be a good match with Italian flavours - salamis and pepperoni pizzas. Modern in style, light and fragrant – If you do not think Lambrusco can be a serious wine, try this and think again!
Thom also brought a bottle of ‘Pococello’ to taste, Pizza Pilgrims’ latest venture. Identifying a gap in the market for a great quality British Limoncello – Thom and James have imported some of the Amalfi’s finest lemons and have teamed up with the Chase Distillery in Herefordshire, to make a top-notch, authentic, British Limoncello. The Pococello is in the final stages of production and will be available in Pizza Pilgrims restaurants and through Selfridges in the next couple of months.
THE BIBENDUM APP
Find the wines you love
Discovering the wines you like can be tricky. That’s why Bibendum developed the grape app Plonk. Plonk starts with grape varieties and wine styles, helping you to understand the flavours you like as well as making suggestions of something similar to try. With Plonk in hand you’ll be equipped to pick the wines you love in shops, restaurants and pubs.Plonk at the Apple Store Plonk at Google Play Plonk at the Windows Store
Bibendum is one of the leading independent drinks suppliers to restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels across the UK. You’ll find our wines and spirits in neighbourhood bistros, Michelin-starred restaurants, stylish bars and classic hotels up and down the UK.
“From house wine to Haut-Brion” as one of our customers put it, Bibendum has an award-winning range at all price points. It focuses on providing outstanding quality and value across the range. In addition to wine, there’s a fantastic range of spirits and craft beers and the recent addition of an exclusive range of sake.