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Trader Profile: Farini, Anthony

Slinging traditional Romana pizza, Sicilian cannoli and a whole range of other authentic Italian delicacies 5 days a week, we sat down with owner of FARINI, Anthony Mortellaro to find out more about his Harvest Hall eatery and what its like being a part of the Prahran Market community.

What did you do before owning FARINI?

Before FARINI I owned and operated a cafe in Westfield Doncaster called Caffe Moda for 10 years.

What do you enjoy most about owning FARINI?

Chatting with the customers and traders. Everyone is friendly and has a story to tell. 

What is the most common question you get asked? 

Customers are always asking “whereabouts in Italy are your family from?.” My mum is from Naples and my dad is from Reggio Calabria. 

What is something people may not know about you or FARINI?

Before going into business for myself, I worked as a chef at Cafe di Stasio and I did my apprenticeship at Caffe e Cucina. 

What makes your pizza so good? Give us the details!

Instead of using yeast, we use a liquid sourdough starter or a ‘levain’. Our pizza undergoes a 48-hour cold fermentation before proofing for a further 24 hours. It’s a 3-day process. The result is a light and airy dough that’s easy to digest and has a pleasing smell and flavour.

Do you have any tips for those who want to re-heat pizza at home?

Simply place in a pre-heated oven (190 degrees) on a rack rather than a tray to allow the base to stay crisp and crunchy. Heat for 5-6 minutes. 

What is the secret to great cannoli?

Some would say the shell is the most important thing to a great cannoli. Others would say the filling. All we know is they must both be made with the highest of quality ingredients and made fresh daily.  

How does your day start?

An espresso and biscotto of course. 

What is your favourite pizza topping?

If I had to choose just one it would have to be ‘Napolitana’ – San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, olives and anchovies. It’s always good. 

What is your favourite focaccia filling?

A good focaccia doesn’t need much. Just simply dipped in a little extra virgin olive oil is how I like eating it but if I am filling it, I use freshly sliced Mortadella.

What is your favourite dish?

I love a simple plate of pasta. It’s comfort food for me. I don’t have a particular favourite as long as the pasta is cooked ‘al dente’ – I can’t stand over cooked pasta.

What is your earliest food memory?

Watching my Nonna cook in her tiny kitchen in the garage and not in the big kitchen in the house. 

What do you love most about being at Prahran Market?

It would have to be the friendships I have made with other traders and with customers. 

What do you love to do on your day off?

Spending time with my wife and 18-month-old. I would love to say playing a round of golf, but with lockdowns and family commitments that is not going to happen!

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