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Oct 20, 2010 03:09 AM

Best source for dried pasta in London?

Whilst I wouldn't argue that it was the best, the Lucio Garofalo spaghetti (long) sold in 1kg packs at Sainsbury's seems to be the best value for money. Unfortunately, supplies are erratic and sometimes I can't get hold of it for many months.
That's when I get the Loyd Grossman brand as it's also made at the Garofalo factory.

I'm not a big fan of De Cecco or Barilla spaghetti as I can't get an ideal 'al dente' resistance with these and the surface texture just isn't right.

Where do other London based Chowhounders source their dried pasta from?

Also, I'm particularly interested in finding out where I can the Rustichella brand - which I'm keen to try.

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  1. I get all my pasta from a website called Mediterranean Direct (which is incidentally great for a whole raft of things). The brand I mostly get from them is a brand called Le Gemme del Vesuvio, as here:

    It's all of them with the red topped packet. They have an amazing rough texture which holds sauce brilliantly and in my opinion cooks to a great al dente. Its actually the best dried pasta I've ever used. They also have another more expensive brand called Giovanni Fabri, which I have a packet of in my kitchen right now, but am yet to try it. I'm intrigued, but looking at it, it seems similar but not superior. Check out their range anyway.

    1. I always use De Cecco which I get from my local deli. According to some Italians I met in Campania this summer, it's the best "standard" Italian brand.

      1. My favourite Italian shops - Lina Stores on Brewer Street (Soho) is a lovely Italian deli/shop. Also Ogla Stores (Islington/Angel - corner of Chapel Market and Penton Street). Monte's on Canonbury Lane (near Highbury and Islington tube). I do tho' eat a lot of De Cecco - I like the extra choice of shapes (e.g. tiny alphabets) at Olga Stores - alphabet pasta is great with homemade chicken stock if you're under the weather!

        My favourite is the Martelli brand dried pasta - it's in the yellow bag. Sometimes Sainsbury's has Martelli in the "posh" section - at least they used to in the Liverpool Rd branch (Angel) You can also get Martelli online from Fratelli Camisa Martelli is the only spaghetti brand that I would use for e.g. aglio e olio where there's so little going on that the pasta and olive oil has to be really good

        My local Spar in Walthamstow Village always has a couple of different Lucio Garofalo shapes - although usually just the 500g spaghetti (not extra long). Although it's a Spar as it's franchise the owners have incorporated the old Eat17 deli from next door when the restaurant expanded and ditched its deli counter. This Spar has a beautiful in house bakery with lovely sourdough bread. It also has the biggest selection of bottled real ales and locally brewed beers I've ever seen including a huge selection brewed by Brodies nearby in Leyton

        1. Rustichella was Heston Blumenthal's choice when he taste tested different spaghetti brands for his tv show 'in Search of Perfection'.

          Rustichella is made using hand-made bronze dies. This apparently creates a rough texture on the surface of the pasta.

          Rustichella is available at whole foods, kensington high street. They also have a good selection of other expensive pasta brands.

          It's also available to order online from 'melbury and appleton' who have lots of foodie goodies at what seem like reasonable prices.

          2 Replies
          1. re: damien76

            Rustichella is the only brand I use -- I think it's fabulous. A few top New York chefs (e.g., Jonathan Benno, formerly of Per Se and now at Lincoln) use a brand called Mancini, which is similarly priced at $7-$8 per pound. It is possible to buy this via the Internet.

            1. re: Nancy S.

              Lots of good offerings in Camisa and Sons, try to get the Gragnano made pasta bronze died, I have found Gentile to be great when cooked for just the right time especially their Conchiglie Rigati and Paccheri for holding meat sauces.