Ask any number of people what their favourite cuisine is and yes, you may get Chinese, Indian, maybe Mexican, but undoubtedly the most popular answer you will hear is Italian. With reams of different flavoured pizzas, pastas, antipasti, breads, sauces, cheeses, oils and desserts, what’s not to love?
“Italian food is fantastic because it’s so beautifully simple,” Andy Gorno passionately states. “It’s so healthy and it’s clean, it’s colourful and it’s got lots of flavour and it’s versatile,” he continues, using his grand hand gestures for emphasis like a true Italian. “Everybody loves it!” And he should know since the Gorno family have been producing cured meats in Northern Italy for over 250 years.
Andy Gorno, along with his father Franco, own Gorno’s Speciality Foods Ltd which specialises in the art of salumifico and was the first company in the UK to produce pepperoni. Very much a family trade, the process is handed down from father to son like a precious heirloom. Andy learnt from Franco, who learnt from his father and it has been this way for generations. “My father traced it back as far as he can go, which is 1740,” he says, but back then they were based in the Italian city of Brescia where his family still reside today.
Salumifico, similar to the French charcuterie, “is the art of curing, salting and preserving meat by making things like salamis, cured sausages and hams,” Andy explains, and it and it is an art that the Gorno’s have mastered. As well as winning the UK Great Taste Award in 2012, both their pepperoni and pastrami have received gold stars.
It is an industry however, that Franco has not always worked in. When he first packed his bags for Wales in 1952, he found employment in the steel works. Back then his plan was to eventually go back to Italy or Toulouse as another branch of Gornos settled in France, where they run a similar business to his Brescian family. However, after meeting Andy’s mother, he settled but swapped the steel works for catering, something that was a little closer to what he was used to back in Northern Italy. Franco “worked in a number of different catering establishments then moved to South Africa and then back to Cardiff,” his son explains, and then in 1978 he set up his own business.
Gorno’s has grown since those early days and as well as their own range of products, that are all hand made in Gwaelod-y-Garth, they also import a whole range of Italian products including cheese, oil and flour. As such, Andy and Franco Gorno are truly living up to their slogan of “A taste of Italy made in Wales.”