A TASTE OF SICILY IN THE VALLEY
At A’Vucciria, a new authentic Sicilian cicchetti bar and cafe in the heart of Rawtenstall, Michele Pillitteri with manager Michele Arcangelo and the team are doing things differently, writes Sarah Varley. Photography: Robin Lyndon
Cleverly converted from a bank, the name A’Vucciria comes from the popular market in Palermo in Sicily, where Michele Pillitteri’s father Ignazio called his home town, and this literal translation of ‘hustle and bustle’ is reflected in this unique establishment. A’Vucciria draws on Ignazio’s knowledge of the area and years of experience in the industry.
“We wanted to recreate the feeling of the market, where you would go along and try new, fresh street food. We have it all so open because we want everyone to feel part of it. Seeing the meat being skilfully sliced by hand at the deli in the corner, people remark it’s like watching a bit of theatre,” says Michele.
At the heart of A’Vucciria is the desire to make everyone feel welcome.
“We’ve seen dining trends are changing, people don’t always want a large, formal meal and this is one of the reasons we don’t take bookings. We want people to walk in and enjoy a drink, and maybe they’ll stay and have a meal with us.”
“We want everyone to feel welcome and use A’Vucciria however they want.”
You definitely should stay for the food, in fact – it is exceptional. Whether opting for a simple bowl of the delicious panelle or cazzilli (these Sicilian croquettes are delicious) with drinks or Michele’s favourite dish of seared scallops with truffle pea puree, squid ink aioli and baby capers – the Sicilian authenticity and simplicity really works!
As with this dish, A’Vucciria food always has a main component and then a maximum of three other ingredients to bring out its flavour. Head chef Katrina Kenny has worked with Michele’s family for years and as Michele explains: “Katrina has a great understanding of Italian flavours and a love of Italian food, but with a little British twist, which again makes us unique,” says Michele.
Katrina’s menu also contains an impressive number of gluten-free and vegetarian choices. There really is something for everyone. Sous-chef Claudio is from Palermo, again bringing out the authenticity of A’Vucciria.
Michele is passionate about the uniqueness of the ingredients too: “We’ve been bringing in meats from the Nebrodi Mountains in Sicily, such as prosciutto crudo di suino nero (cured ham from the wild black pig of Nebrodi). You don’t see these meats in other restaurants.”
Fruits, vegetables and cheeses are shipped over from Sicily too and fresh Sicilian breads such as foccacia are baked daily.
“We’re very proud of the quality of the amazing ingredients we source locally here in Lancashire too,” Michele adds.
A’Vucciria also offers specialist imported wines, such as the Sicilian red Firriato Camelot or Bianco di Nera, and Italian craft beer Hibu as well as Rivo Gin from Lake Como that you will struggle to find elsewhere.
So drop in, enjoy the atmosphere and try something different.
17 Bank Street, Rossendale BB4 6QS