For the second year running, Birra Moretti have returned to London to bring some of the best Italian street food and Birra Moretti beers for their Moretti Gran Tour. This year saw the Gran Tour take shape inside the Barclays British Summer Time festival. It was the same sort of set up as last year, great Italian street food vendors with Birra Moretti beers, including their two newer beers Birra Moretti alla Toscana and Birra Moretti alla Siciliana, which featured for the first-time last year. Sadly the La Rossi wasn’t featuring this year from what I could see. The food options had cut down from last year’s event and featured 4 top Italian London street food companies.
Arancini Brothers must be up there as one of my favourite street food vendors in London full stop. Amazing arancini balls made from risotto, Cajun sweet potatoes, mushroom zucchini, mozzarella and more, all deep fried in a crispy coating with beautiful homemade aubergine and tomato dipping sauce, and garlic aioli. Even the doughnut like dessert balls were incredible, which had been made especially for the Gran Tour, made from a sweet bourbon vanilla bean filled with either chocolate sauce or salted caramel sauce. I think Arancini Brothers went down the best with the group I was with (one of us scoffing 9 balls in total!), especially the vegetarians among us as all Arancini Brothers menu options was either veggie or vegan friendly.
Without doubt the most popular line amongst the drinking punters present was Pizza Pilgrims, perfectly made tomato and basil pizzas cooked straight out of the back of their Pizza Pilgrim truck. Watching the guys go to work was a pleasure, each pizza being lovingly hand made as they laughed and joked while listening to some banging tunes like De La Soul Me, Myself & I. The queues may have been long but overall it didn’t take people too long to get their pizza fix.
The Cheeky Italian was a new one for me, I don’t remember them from last year’s event and I don’t think I have seen them anywhere before. I started the evening with one of their slider samplers. Beautifully deep fried chicken with a juicy meatball and sauce slavered on top, all precariously kept together with a small brioche bun. There was a lot going on and you certainly needed a napkin handy when eating it but the flavours were lovely.
The Cheese Wheel queue took some time, handmade pasta cooked, thrown in a creamy wild garlic and white wine sauce, then thrown on top of a huge 40kg Grana Padana cheese wheel and mixed about to soak up all the cheesy goodness. You then had a choice of toppings like smoked pancetta, mushrooms, chili or sausage.
Although much smaller in size compared to last year, there was a lot of people enjoying the food and drink. I really liked it as its own thing last year and although being part of the Barclays British Summer Time festival does mean that they will get much more passing trade, I do hope that next year it returns as its own entity.
The highlight of the evening entertainment for me was the cheese rolling. Who knew rolling a cheese with the aim to get the cheese to stop closest to a pole would be so much fun! My friend straight up hustled us too, as both practise throws were awful only for her to pull it out the bag for the main roll, which flew down the runway perfectly and stopped right next to the pole! The least said about one friends throw however the better…
When the live music isn’t on, it’s free to enter Barclays British Summer Time Festival and you can experience the Birra Moretti Gran Tour Sensory Experience, a 45 minute adventure exploring the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Italy. There is only one night left of open house, which is tonight Friday 7th July, so best get down there quick.
Disclaimer – 6 friends and I had VIP entrance passes, this gave us 4 free drinks tokens and 4 free food tokens. Although none of us paid for the food or drink this hasn’t affected my opinion on anything said in this blog post.