Pinos Dolce Vita Fine Foods

Age-old techniques meet prime Aussie produce

Butchery, salumeria, and cafe… Pinos Dolce Vita Fine Foods is dubbed Australia’s most outstanding food stores, and when you read its story you’ll see exactly why it earned that badge of honour. 

It all started in Calabria

Pino Tomini Foresti was born in a family that had been providing their community with artisan smallgoods and fresh meat, made the traditional way, for generations. A love of meat ran through his veins, and at age 16, a young Pino moved to Australia where he continued the family tradition with his uncles in their butcher shop in Mt Pritchard. 

It wasn’t long after when a beautiful woman named Pia walked into the butcher shop, capturing Pino’s heart and quickly becoming the love of his life. In 1978, the two married and Pino set out to carve his own name in the butcher world. He opened his own business in Kogarah where he produced smallgoods and delivered top quality fresh meat to the surrounding community. 

But business didn’t take off straight away. In fact, Pino went through a few difficult years where the largely Australian locals took less-than-kindly to his ‘ethnic’ butchery operation. But year after year, Pino’s quality meats and artisan goods started speaking for themselves. He gained popularity and started attracting meat and fine food lovers from surrounding suburbs, and suddenly, he was one of Australia’s most prized butchers and a food icon in his own right. 

Today, the store is an iconic Sydney institution, widely regarded as one of the best food stores in the country and highly esteemed amongst the foodie community. Pino’s specialty smallgoods make their way to Sydney’s best restaurants, and he’s proud to call some of Australia’s most celebrated chefs his loyal regulars and friends. 

Age-old techniques meet prime Aussie produce

There’s something special about the meeting of cultures, and that’s part of the charm at Pino’s. He combines a lifelong passion for South American, Spanish, and Portuguese produce with authentic Italian techniques passed down through his family and the prime produce found here in Australia. The result is a range of products that speak in many different accents and provide an exciting range of flavours and food experiences for the smallgoods lover. 

With more than 7 generations of smallgoods and butchery tradition, skill, and knowledge, it’s safe to say that this work is in Pino’s blood. He and his team always start with the best quality ingredients, sourcing meat from some of Australia’s best producers who rear their animals to be best in their category. The team receives carcasses whole from their suppliers and breaks them down themselves, an art that is quickly becoming lost amongst other butchers. On top of that, Pino’s crew is so obsessed with what they do that they know their product so deeply they can tell you how each animal was raised, kept, fed, and the qualities of each breed. 

The animals chosen by Pino and his team are almost always pasture-fed and have been raised free-range, because such qualities always make a better product. All the meat they bring into their store is free from added growth hormones or therapeutic antibiotics. Because to Pino and his family, it’s all about natural, fresh meat the way it has been for generations.

The butcher & delicatessen from paradise

Today, Pinos Dolce Vita combines a butchery, salumeria, and cafe, all managed by the Forestis, making it a family-run business through and through. Pino and Pia’s kids are the future of the business and a vital part of daily operations – don’t think for one second that Pino would let his generations worth of age-old technical knowledge disappear. The kids are carrying on his traditions and putting their own spirit and spin on the way things are run at Pino’s.

Fabiano, the oldest of the Foresti kids is responsible for creating new and exciting flavours and recipes for the sausages and smallgoods. Of which there are a lot. We’re talking about more than 100 varieties of sausages and a growing range of smallgoods, all made by hand on-site by Pino and his family. The superb selection is produced from the prime meat that makes its way to the shop, with no part of the animal wasted. The result is a spectacular range of meats from bacon to salami, ham, lardo, bresaola, beef, pork, lamb, mince, chorizo, mortadella, you name it and they have it – all made superbly and genuinely. 

On top of that, Pinos Dolce Vita stocks a range of carefully selected cheese and top quality Italian groceries alongside equally fantastic Aussie counterparts. There’s also various antipasti, cheese, guanciale and culatello… This is a prime example of luxury of choice, only the choice itself is made difficult with so many exceptional options.

Read about some of the exclusive & most passionate producers in Australia in CHEFIN’s team deep dive into New South Wale’s best producers.