At the risk of prompting sarcastic mimes of sorrowful violin playing, I'm not going away this summer. I just can't afford it this year, and must remain stoic whilst being simultaneously taunted almost hourly by various friends posting photos of themselves enjoying their first airport pint of the day on social media. So it was an absolute pleasure to be transported to Italy for a couple of precious hours last week for an event at Salvi's, that estimable deli and restaurant that does such a good job of bringing some Mediterranean sunshine to our sometimes rather grey Mancunian climes.
The event was to unveil Salvi's expansion plans - the original Salvi's Mozzarella Bar in the Corn Exchange will be back bigger and even better when the development re-opens at the end of August, with their original outdoor spot overlooking Exchange Square extended to 40 covers and a huge new deli space downstairs. This is exciting news for anyone who has experienced the delights that owner Maurizio sources from his native Naples and surrounding areas - the new deli space promises joints of cured Italian hams, an entire counter of Italian cheeses (including the splendid Mozzarella made by Maurizio's brother Emiliano), a wide range of anti pasti, Italian wines and plenty of other goodies (although this is, of course, bad news for anyone prone to greed when in close contact with any or all of these items).
Last week's event was a typically Salvi's affair, with the whole clan on hand to celebrate the expansion of this friendly, family-run business - although I must remember that my Italian is not good enough to converse with Maurizio's lovely mum, especially after several glasses of a very good Primitivo. There was also a giant (and delicious) mortadella on show (which prompted much witty, sophisticated talk of big sausages, are you just pleased to see me etc etc), an impressive display of cutting a whole wheel of Parmesan, and the chance to try some of Salvi's excellent pizzas and pasta dishes (my favourite being a quite extraordinary bowl of truffly, mushroomy joy). The new Salvi's Corn Exchange will offer far more seating than previously, with an open kitchen and a much bigger dining area; there will also be - gasp - a Wine Room and a Mozzarella Room, both offering tasting sessions as well as being available for private hire (although, presumably, they will not welcome someone who actually wishes to move in to one of these premises).
Not everyone is thrilled with some of the businesses that plan to open in the Corn Exchange, but I've not spoken to a single person who has anything bad to say about Salvi's or who isn't genuinely delighted at the thought of them reopening their original outpost. I will be there, and I will be taking a *very* large shopping bag with me...
- Salvi's Cucina is currently open at 19 John Dalton Street; the new Salvi's Mozzarella Bar will be at Unit 22b The Corn Exchange, and will be open 10am-11pm every day. I was invited to this event and was given complimentary food and drink but that has not affected the ludicrously high regard in which I already held Salvi's.