Valentina in Weybridge - On the Tea Shop Trail
PUBLISHED: 08:53 18 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:01 18 August 2014
This month, our intrepid tea shop columnist Louise Johncox heads to the well-heeled streets of leafy Weybridge to enjoy an authentic taste of Italy...
Need to know:
Valentina, 10-12 High Street, Weybridge KT13 8AB. Open from Monday to Saturday, 8.30am to 10.30pm and on Sundays from 9am to 10.30pm. Tel: 01932 218062. Web: valentinafinefoods.com
Opened in Weybridge in September 2012, Valentina is owned by the Zoccola and Arcari families who are from Sant’Elia Fiumirapido, a small village nestled at the foot of Monte Cassino in Italy, renowned as the scene of a huge battle near the end of the Second World War. The families have farmed the land there for generations and the third generation still return home annually to farm the olives.
Primarily a delicatessen and a restaurant, Valentina is also a café as well as a wine and gift shop. In addition, they have their own label pasta, sauces, panettone, colomba, olives and jams, which have been awarded gold stars by the Guild of Fine Foods.
The first Valentina opened in East Sheen in 1991. There are other branches in Putney, Sevenoaks, Notting Hill, and the newest is in Reigate.
Walking into Valentina is like stepping into a café in Italy. The staff are Italian and the deli offers classic produce sourced from Italy – everything from Limoncello to pasta, cheeses and wines. The walls of the café are lined with a mix of personal photographs belonging to the two families who own the business. There are also fresh flowers on each table.
The restaurant is far more spacious than you imagine from the outside and has about 13 tables (40 covers). Table One, the first table to the left, is the most popular because it has a perfect view of the shop and faces a wonderful collection of Italian wines.
On the menu…
The top three pastries are apparently Chocolate Cannoli, Vanilla Cannoli and Sfogliatine (99p each).
The most popular savoury dish is the Capella Romana, a tagliatelle recipe with home-made meatballs and mozzarella wrapped in speck ham, baked and served with a tomato and basil sauce (£13.50)
My mum and I shared a Canollo Siciliano – a Sicilian biscuit lined with chocolate and filled with sweet ricotta cream, candied fruit and chocolate chip (£4.05). I thought it might be too sweet but it was simply scrummy. I had a latte (£2.35) while Mum had a cup of tea (£1.95).
After our indulgent treat, we explored the shop and deli packed with appetising Italian produce. I noticed quite a few people popping in for a takeaway ice cream (£2.20 a scoop). I went mad and bought a sorbet in a lemon (£3.95), which Mum said was a popular dessert in the old days!
The atmosphere is warm and friendly with welcoming staff. Our pastry was indulgent and there were a lot more tempting treats on the menu including the Italian classic, panettone (£5.25). The menu was appealing and all the food I saw on other plates looked appetising and in generous portions. This is the place to go for a genuine taste of Italy – on Weybridge High Street.
Louise Johncox’s parents, Peter and Frankie, ran Peter’s tea shop in Weybridge from 1958 until 2000 when they retired. Louise has written a book about her parents’ tea shop, The Baker’s Daughter, which is out in good bookshops now (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm)