I was so desperately disappointed when Mały Polski Sklep (Little Polish Shop) closed its doors on Newhaven’s decaying High Street: where would I get my daily dose of kefir and the amazing Polish bread, which out-performs English loaves on every level?
A friend told me about L’Isola Buona; an Italian artisan food shop, local deli store and organic cafe, specialising in Sardinian delicacies, cured meats, cheeses, artisan breads, antipasti, sweets, wine and much, much more.
So now, at least there is one good, culinary reason to stay in Newhaven! ..and a place to buy quality food products and delicious taste treats.
The unusual thing about L’Isola Buona is its location.
L’Isola Buona – the ‘Good Isle’ of Sardinian taste treats can be found in the heart of Newhaven’s trading estate. If you drive along New Road, from the turn off by Newhaven Town railway station heading towards Paradise Park, L’Isola Buona is on your right, just past the Veolia – Newhaven Household Waste Recycling Site (the tip..) and before the Screwfix warehouse. It is set back a little way from the road and there’s plenty of parking space.
Look out for this:
Inside, it’s a wonderful world away from a dusty trading estate.
Visitors are whisked away to the glorious Mediterranean island of Sardinia with all manner of delicious food and drinks.
From behind the counter, Lucia radiates charm and Mediterranean warmth. She greets all her customers and offers suggestions and advice on the mouth-watering array of hams and cheeses at the deli counter.
There are some little tables and chairs both inside and out (if the Sussex weather permits…) and a long list of coffees and snacks are chalked up on a board. The range of panini-style sandwiches is extremely tempting with a good selection for both carnivores and vegetarians.
If I start to list the gorgeous, mouth-watering ingredients in the sandwiches and platters, I will start salivating, so here’s a shot of the board with all the tasty items available at the cafe.
I chose the divine sounding smoked swordfish, as I had read about it online, and Lucia showed me how Sardinians eat it; with the typical Sardinian flatbread, Pane Carasau, and then drizzled with good virgin olive oil. Mmmmmm, delicious.
Pane Carasau is known as ‘music paper bread’ and is the perfect match for smoked fish or meat.
On another occasion, I was walking past on my way to the Paradise Park garden centre, and I couldn’t resist a little treat; a Sardinian Tinicche (50p); a little rose of sweet buttery pastry filled with mulled wine, orange zest, vanilla and anise. Quite delicious.
There was also a homemade quince tart with generous slices for £2. Very tempting.
The lady working at the counter that day said she couldn’t resist the chocolate-covered nougat, the torrone, made with pure honey, selected nuts and a light chocolate icing. Yum!
She also said she loved the coffee and I will bring my caffeine-worshipping friends along as there is also a loyalty card, so I can earn a free cappuccino!
L’Isola Buona is a family business.
As they say:
“Having been raised in Sardinia, we learned as children that family and food values are in unison with one another. The same love and respect is equally applied to the way we look after our livestock and grow our produce. You could say we’re the originators of the artisan ethos.”
“The methods of farming have been passed down through the generations for centuries; this is why our products are bursting with flavour and nutrition. Prior to relocating to the UK, in 2008, we ran our family business in Sardinia, gathering many years of experience, overseen by our beloved late father.
Lucia manages the UK operations and works in the always-busy outlet in Newhaven. Her brother Antonello is a professional chef, so he is great at recommending ingredients for a delicious meal or a menu for L’Isola Buona’s trade clientele. Salvatore works on a daily basis, ‘hands-on’ with the company’s partner farmers and producers.
L’Isola Buona carries a wide range of Italian fine wines and foods and regularly introduces new lines. Check out their website (www.lisolabuona.co.uk) or visit the deli and organic cafe in person to see their wonderful, ever-expanding range.
Some of the most popular items include organic sheep’s cheeses, goat’s cheeses, smoked fish specialities, Pane Carasau, Bottarga – the ‘Sardinian caviar’ and the deli’s own sweetened Torrone, which is a bit like the old English nougat.
L’Isola Buona also offers a lovely range of organic ‘cooking sauces’ for pasta or rice dishes, and an extensive range of DOP wines… and much more besides.
Come and discover this treasure island of taste and quality.
Bridge Industrial Estate
Newhaven BN9 0ES
Tel: 01273 512 260
Open: 09.00–17.00 Mon–Fri, 10.00–17.00 Sat, closed Sun