The story of a Saporista co-founder's Italian heritage
Saporista is the culmination of the passion of its founders for bringing authentic, high quality food and drink from small producers to kitchen cupboards at home, where it can be used to create joyous occasions in our everyday lives. A big part of the passion behind our Italian range is my love for Italian cooking, inspired by my Italian heritage. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were Italian, one from the South and one from the North, but it was my father’s mother Amelia, and her sister Angelina, from Milan, who really ignited my interest in Italian cuisine. The story begins with my grandfather George’s brave involvement in one of the most costly series of allied assaults in World War Two, fought in the most challenging of terrains, the Battle of Monte Cassino. George, like many World War veterans, did not speak much about his experiences, but it must have been hellish. This knowledge makes the next episode in his life story that much sweeter! George’s ensuing Italian romance made the pages of his local rag, so I’ll hand over to the Hornsey Journal reporter, who wrote up the happy tale for the enjoyment of his local community, and through who we hear the excited reaction of George’s mother, my great-grandmother, to her son’s romance and her new Italian daughter-in-law.
Friday, April 19, 1946
Romance links Muswell Hill with Milan, Italy. Lance -corporal George Benjamin Titchmarsh, the 25-year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Titchmarsh of No. 31, Barringer Road, Coldfall Estate, will soon marry pretty, vivacious, 20-in-July Amelia at a Milan church.
“We have received lovely letters from Amelia and, though we are not aware of her surname, we know our George well enough to say that he’s picked his “dream girl”, said Mrs. Titchmarsh when interviewed by a “Hornsey Journal” reporter. Amelia, who has mastered the language very well, writes to George’s parents, “I already love you as if you were my own parents and, although I do not belong to your nationality, I am quite sure that near you and with George I shall love your country as if it were my own.” “Speaks volumes, doesn’t it!” commented Mrs. Titchmarsh after reading those simple and yet eloquent words.
George and Amelia met in the “chancy” way experienced by many another young couple at a dance and romance blossomed under Italian sunshine.
George will bring Amelia to England in July when his three years nine months “tour” is completed. Last September he arrived home on a month’s C.M.F leave, but was anxious to get back to Milan. George and Amelia plan to make their home at 31 Barringer Road and he expects to be demobbed in the early autumn.
George, as a boy, attended Coldfall School and was a keen member of the St Matthew’s Church Lad’s Brigade. He was employed till his call-up some five years ago, by Wilson’s (the drapers), of Crouch End. He was formerly a member of the C.R.A Football Club and figured in many North London “Thursday” League fixtures.
Amelia’s elder sister, Angelina, has recently arrived in this country and is married to a member of the R.A.F who lives at Woolwich.
Amelia and George’s wartime romance brought British and Italian traditions together, and I have many fond childhood memories of long, chatty Italian-style meals, when we as kids were allowed to stay up late and join in with the grown-ups as we tucked into huge platefuls of delicious Italian food. Just as my Grandad fell in love with an Italian girl, I have in turn fallen in love with all things Italian. As an adult I have enjoyed learning to cook in different Italian styles, experimenting with flavours and recipes from the many distinct Italian regions. My wife's firm favourite however is Pollo Milanese (chicken simply fried in breadcrumbs), a dish she's nicknamed 'special chicken', which was a staple in my Nan's repertoire. I love continuing to discover Italian food and culture, and in the last few years I've also been learning the language and deepening my knowledge of Italian wines. Building Saporista is a wonderful opportunity to combine a personal passion with my wife's entrepreneurial skills. As Saporista’s Italian collection grows, and we share more wonderful food stories and occasions with our customers, Amelia Chiappella’s romance with an English soldier lives on …
George and Amelia's wedding day, with her sister Franca and brother Pierrino.