The baker behind Lodsworth’s ciabatta

Valeriana De Berardinis of Farretti bakery
Valeriana De Berardinis of Farretti bakery

Following the scent of fresh bread, Charlotte Pearson finds herself at a bakery in Lodsworth.

When it comes to baking there are many names that you would have heard of such as Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

Farretti bakery

Farretti bakery

However chances are Dr Arnaldo Cavallari will not ring any bells, even though most of us would have sampled the goods he created.

“When I decided that I wanted to make ciabatta I found out who its creator was,” explains Valeriana De Berardinis of Farretti bakery. “I got in touch with Dr Cavallari and asked how to make the best ciabatta and he gave me loads of hints and tips.

“We are actually friends now and chat all the time.”

So it is no wonder when I taste the delicious bread there is something just a bit different from what you may find in your local supermarket.

“It is very light and packed full of flavour,” agrees Valeriana.

Originally from Abruzzo in Italy, Valeriana has always worked in the food industry, starting with running a pizzeria in her hometown.

Moving to the UK in 2004, and after a string of jobs, she decided that she liked being her own boss and wanted to run her own business doing something she loved.

In 2006 Farretti was born, and she started by making Italian style biscuits.

“They had a hole in the middle,” she begins. “In Italy people have them with wine and coffee.

“I called them slabs as they were quite big.

“People liked them but they didn’t really understand what they were, like they did in Italy.

“In 2011 I decided to change the business and started to look at bread.

“I love ciabatta and found out how to make it and learned all I could.”

Located in Lodsworth Farretti’s artisan baking products include the classic ciabatta, olive ciabatta, sundried tomato ciabatta, Focaccia with rosemary, a pizza bread with tomato topping as well as rolls and baps.

“I have a standard here that I want to duplicate in other places which would see me having small bakeries in a number of places,” she reveals. “I don’t want to be big, I want to keep it small and local as people like that.”

To cope with big orders Valeriana has also devised a way to make the bread in manageable bite size pieces.

“I have split the process up into mixing, cutting, baking and packing,” she says. “So it is manageable and can be done by different people like a production line.”

Looking to the future Valeriana it keen to expand the business, however feels there is a hurdle.

“What I need is a business partner, someone who is creative like me and together we can help grow the company and do more,” she says. “I have lots of ideas to do more Italian baked items like panettone but I need someone else, as it is only me.”

At its heart Farretti has a very rustic feel with brown paper bags emblazoned with its name, and with heritage in every crumb,it is a great way to try a little bit of Italy in the South Downs.

This article was taken from the June edition of etc, your free, monthly lifestyle magazine. For more stories like this, visit here