On Saturday (16 August), the authentic taste of Naples will arrived on Merthyr Tydfil’s high street, with the opening of Scorchini’s Pizzeria.
The family run business is Wales’ first ever authentic Neapolitan pizzeria — one of only twelve across the UK.
What’s more, the restaurant’s owners and head pizzaiolo’s, Gareth and Miranda George, are two of only a select few professionally trained, authentic pizza chefs in the UK.
The husband-wife duo trained in Naples with the great-grandson of Raffaele Esposito — who is credited with creating the Margherita pizza in 1889, at the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) School in Naples.
Starting out travelling around South Wales in a converted horsebox, the couple quickly gained notoriety for their pizzas — catering on set for Doctor Who and feeding the Welsh international rugby team before they headed off to the World Cup.
The pair are now about to take on their most exciting challenge yet, as they open their first pizzeria in Merthyr Tydfil — made possible by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and Private investment.
With thanks to this funding, the newly renovated restaurant will be serving up AVPN approved pizzas that are true Neapolitan or “Vera Napoletana” — widely considered the benchmark for pizza around the world.
A true Neapolitan consists of mozzarella from the marshlands of the southern Apennines and San Marzano tomatoes, grown in the volcanic soil of Mount Vesuvius — bringing a combination of bright acidity and sweet, cheesy smoothness to the pizza.
These key ingredients must be sourced from Italy but other elements of Scorchini’s exciting new menu are being sourced locally — including artisan cured meats from Cwmfarm Charcuterie, owned by Welsh rugby legend Dan Lydiate.
With renovation work now complete, the new Merthyr Tydfil restaurant is bringing a modern Italian energy to the town centre. The couple have even commissioned local Merthyr Tydfil street-artist, Arvekay, to decorate the interior and exterior of the building as an homage to the artwork that covers the streets of Naples.
The famous Neapolitan Banksy piece ‘Madonna with a pistol’ has been replicated on the outside of the restaurant — or in this case ‘Madonna with the AVPN logo’ — bringing a touch of the city’s self-expression and culture to Merthyr Tydfil.
Gareth George, Scorchini’s Pizzeria owner, said: “Being able to open our own restaurant is an exciting step and one we never thought we would be able to take. We are grateful to the Council for all the help and financial support they have provided.
“As the huge pizza enthusiast that I am, I can’t wait to bring the taste of Naples to Merthyr Tydfil. We love the idea that you don’t always have to renew your passport and get on a plane to get that authentic taste… It’s going to be right here in Merthyr Tydfil!”
Leader of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Cllr Geraint Thomas, said: “It’s great to see another popular Welsh eatery making a permanent home in Merthyr Tydfil, and I have no doubt that Scorchini’s Pizzeria will prove to be just as popular as the town’s other new culinary ventures.
“Supporting entrepreneurs in this way is a majorly important step in helping us to further grow a culture of great independent businesses and unique food and drink offerings in Merthyr Tydfil — all while bringing a newfound purpose to empty buildings in the town centre. It’s all part of our wider Masterplan for the town centre which, with every step, I have great joy watching unfold.”