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Porchetta at Lello’s Deli

By Kit Heathcock

Every small town weekly market I shopped in over my years working in Italy would have a porchetta truck. Parked strategically near stalls piled high with fresh produce or household goods, it would have a queue in front of it most of the morning. A whole roast pig, crisp and done to a turn, would lie stretched out on the high counter above you, a pile of crusty rolls next to it. You’d look up at the porchetta maestro and indicate which part of the pig your slices should come from – more fat or more meat, and they would cut chunky succulent slices into a roll for a morning snack. Piles of herbs encrusted with salt (sale) would have fallen from the stuffing and you could ask for some of the sale if you wanted a double kick of herby flavour. I used to buy a big packet of slices as a treat for our gourmet picnics, with a clump of sale thrown in. It was a weekly highlight, even though it could easily blow your tour picnic budget, enough chunky slices for sixteen people weighed a whole lot more than the equivalent slices of salami or prosciutto.

Lello's Deli, Porchetta
Photograph by Kit Heathcock

So when I saw that Lello’s Deli had sourced Italian-style porchetta and was selling it in focaccia sandwiches, I started salivating immediately. Since I visited to write my Daily Maverick article in November just after they opened, the Turilli family has been busy. Chiara’s energy and enthusiasm seems inexhaustible and each time I pop in there’s a new product, a new artisan supplier, a new story, a new discovery.

The porchetta is cooked for them by Luigi, from Asolo a small town near Venice. He gets his pork from an Italian friend’s farm here in SA, then lovingly cooks it the traditional way, slow roasted over coals for 8 hours so the fat is crisp on the outside the meat succulent and infused with the flavours of the herbs. For the deli it’s not a whole pig, but pork belly stuffed with a secret herb mix (rosemary, sage, fennel at a guess, but what else?) and rolled, so it’s slightly less rustic than my Italian memories, but the flavour and succulence is all there. Chiara cut me some generous slices from the roast, popped it into a big square of their artisan focaccia and heated it up for me in the sandwich toaster. Lunch perfection.

Read my story all about Lello’s Deli and the Turilli family who run it with such welcoming hospitality and energy.

Where And When

Lello’s Deli
106 Vos Street
De Waterkant
Cape Town


Monday to Friday, 09h00-18h00
Saturday and Sunday, 09h00-15h00



I tried to pay for my porchetta sandwich but Chiara wouldn’t let me – apparently my Daily Maverick article brought so many customers in that they were run off their feet that weekend, and haven’t stopped running since.