Panzerotti – The Perfect Mix of a Bridie and a PizzaNeil Hardie
Have you ever wondered what the cross between a bridie and a pizza would taste like? Panzerotti Cafe and Bakery in Forfar has the answer.
The Italian eatery on Craig O’Loch Road was opened by Sandro Tato eight years ago. Hailing from Puglia – the “heel” of Italy – he came to Forfar for the first time in 2005.
The southern Italian street food item panzerotti gave name to his cafe and bakery, which he has now become well-known for.
Sandro says: “The panzerotti was born around the 1960s and 70s, but in the last 10 years they have become very popular in Italy.
“The traditional way to cook them is frying, and after a few years in Scotland I understood that people like fried things.
“Is has the same shape as the bridie and it’s like a calzone, but the dough is different.
“The traditional way to have it is filled with tomato and mozzarella, but I can add up to three ingredients here.
“You wouldn’t believe the combinations I’ve made. If they knew in Italy, they wouldn’t have me back.”
As well as the classic panzerotti, Sandro has created a sweet version called panze-choc.
Instead of tomato and mozzarella, these are filled with banana and Nutella, chocolate and cherry or banana and caramel.
To encourage more customers to try them, he offered them free with orders over £20. That sparked the idea to offer different items for free throughout the week.
“The formula worked and we attracted a lot of people,” says the owner.
“We’ve been quite busy over January thanks to the idea. Costing wise for us, it’s not much to produce an extra item in the kitchen.
“But from the point of view of the customer, you get a lot of value because it’s a whole free item.”
Panzerotti offers a different item everyday on orders over £20 for sit-in, takeaway and home delivery.
The week starts with free panzerotti on a Tuesday and finishes with free panze-choc on a Sunday.
Free pizza, lasagne, focaccia and garlic ciabatta is on offer throughout the week.
Last week (on February 2), Panzerotti featured on BBC Scotland’s Eat The Town programme serving its signature dish. Presenter Dazza even scored the mozzarella and pepperoni panzerotti a 10 out of 10.
While the presenters enjoyed a picnic lunch, they headed back to the cafe at the end of the show to enjoy dessert.
Outside in the carpark, Sandro has created a little Italian village. Over the pandemic, small huts named after regions and towns in Italy have been set up for diners.
His team of 10 have also had the chance to visit his home country and take inspiration back to Forfar.
“I’ve got a very nice team and I’ve rewarded them with little journeys to Italy,” Sandro says.
“I believe they’ll be more motivated if they see the way Italians live, it adds to their training, and they can transfer that into the business.
“And they deserve it, because they work hard.”
Next on his agenda is improving Panzerotti’s bar. After some alterations he hopes to offer something new for Forfar.
Sandro says: “I’m quite fond of cocktails and I did a bartender course in Milan last year.
“It was very tough; I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was.
“A nicer bar is one of the many things we can add to Forfar.”