Change is good… sometimes.
Innovation and invention are often welcomed, if not necessary, for any kind of progress. Still, there are but a few ways one can reinvent the wheel before it becomes something else entirely.
This concept is resplendent in food and the culinary arts.
Take Col’Cacchio, for example. A beloved South African staple with restaurants all over the country, Col’Cacchio is celebrating 25 years of satisfying SA taste buds by giving its tried and trusted brand a face-lift.
A new menu celebrating the vision of its founders, a sort of rebranding from ‘pizzeria’ to ‘kitchen’ and even a shift away from its all-too familiar cursive title font to a more solid block-like font in tune with modern trends and tendencies. Short, sweet and simple.
There is one aspect, however, that they haven’t really changed; the food’s not exactly Italian.
Let me explain, Italian cuisine is arguably the most recognized and replicated culinary style in the world. If food was a religion – which for many it is – French cuisine would be the pope, but Italian cuisine would be the virgin Mary, God and the holy spirit.
Staying in the metaphor, Italian cuisine has very precise do’s, don’ts and you-can-but-really shouldn’ts. For starters, chicken on pizza or in pasta is NOT Italian; banting foods are NOT Italian; chorizo is NOT Italian and pizza with six different toppings is what Italians would call a troccolo or big mess.
All of the above, however, can be found on Col’Cacchio menus both old and new.
And it works.
In 25 years, Col’Cacchio has kept its ears fine-tuned on the one thing its customers know and love. South African styled Italian food.
In fact, you wouldn’t go to Col’Cacchio for a plate of ricotta gnocchi with black truffle, but you would go for a nacho libre pizza and that’s okay… not my personal choice, but okay.
It’s taken simple Italian dishes and adapted them to the South African palette in a way which far surpasses the capabilities of other “Italian” chain restaurants like Panarotti’s.
A delicious addition is the Melanzane starter which is a minimalist take on the Parmigiana.
The heresies are of course there. There is a pizza with banana on it, as well as one with pineapple, but the cardinal rule of pizza – that a pizza is only as good as its base – is respected and that’s enough on its own. Besides, what’s life without a little sin!
Col’Cacchio takes care of the presentation as well. The plates are not too crowded and they don’t over-indulge by serving food on a cutting board like most “hip joints”.
Overall, they’ve kept their seemingly winning formula and added just a few bells and whistles to polish up their act.
Paraphrasing from their own words, what they’ve done is a “celebrate a local journey, 25 years in the making, of love, passion, adventure and loads and loads of pizza” and ultimately that’s more than anyone can ask from a place that celebrates food.