At Craggs & Co, we are always keen to support the businesses that surround us here in sunny Sedgefield, and across the North East. The pandemic and challenges of the past year really reinforced the importance of shopping local, and the power consumers can have by supporting smaller brands. Shopping local is also key from a climate conscious perspective, as in doing so it can significantly reduce carbon-intensive transportation costs which damage the planet.
Sourcing local produce is of fundamental importance to our friends at Café Lilli too. Café Lilli is a beautiful Italian restaurant in Norton On Tees, just a 15-minute drive from our farm. Currently 80% of the products used in their delicious dishes are sourced locally, which is both a hugely impressive and unusual feat in today’s age. Made in store each day using our very own nutritious Craggs & Co spelt flour, their homemade fresh pastas are a favourite for many.
We recently caught up with owner Roberto Pittalis to see how their team have found the past year, and what they are looking forward to in the future.
Q: What initially brought you to the area?
A: We have had Café Lilli for 18 years now and have loved seeing it grow within our community. The quality and variety of products on offer across the North East was something which really drew us to this area.
Q: How has the past year been for you and the team?
A: It has been very challenging for us. Welcoming everyone back to the restaurant again now though has been so exciting. It’s wonderful to see so many customers enjoying our food and the quality of the products we use again.
Q: Has stocking local producers always been important to you, or did the pandemic really reinforce this?
A: This is something which has always been hugely important to us, absolutely. It is something we are very committed too.
Q: Which local products do you use, as well as Craggs & Co?
We use a wide variety of local meats, fish and cheeses in our menu. 80% of our products are sourced locally which is something we are very proud of!
Q: What is your favourite dish on your menu?
A: Pasta made with spelt flour! I’ve been using ancient grains and spelt flours in particular in my cooking for five years now and love the delicious flavours they give.
Q: What are your hopes for CafLili in the future?
A: To get stronger and keep growing, and to keep sourcing local products for our menu.
Q: What’s the best part of your job?
A: Meeting people from different walks of life.