Italy, cradling one of the most prestigious cultures in the world and a country of countless culinary traditions, is at the heart of Arancini Art’s inspiration. When the time came to choose a name for their Italian food start-up 10 years ago, it was easy for Riccardo Siligato and his wife Josanne Rizzo.
“Coming from Italy a few years ago, we felt the need to bring a little bit of Italy close to us, and we started the production of traditional Italian food in Epping in a close friend’s warehouse,” Josanne says.
“We profoundly respect both our origins and the country that has now become our home,” she says. “That’s why we select the best local produce to be integrated with imported ingredients to recreate in Australia the perfect art of Italian arancini.”
The operation started because the founders wanted to bring to Melbourne some food that was truly Italian, but every now and then they added a bit of artistic creatitivity in their recipes, offering arancini with ingredients such as beetroot, salmon, lemon and even Nutella.
From that start back in 2009, they have flourished, becoming one of the best producers of arancini in Australia and extending their production to finger food, calzoni, pizza bases and lasagne. They also have an offshoot division, Food Art Distribution, that imports and distributes Italian fine food and ingredients.
Like all companies, there were challenges at first.
“We made arancini a couple of days a week in a little kitchen and were weighing them individually, so you could imagine how time-consuming that was,” Josanne says.
Luckily, soon after the couple started their venture, Massimo Minutoli and Gerry came on board. Massimo took over the sales with Josanne, while Riccardo, assisted by Gerry, organised the production on a larger scale with the first employees. Now they have a staff of 10 working in an industrial kitchen that runs full-time.
“Our modern kitchen is fitted out with ovens, fryers, a conveyor belt oven for the calzone and we’ve got a machine that weighs the arancini for us,” Josanne says.
Their clientele includes restaurants, cafes, butchers, delicatessens and caterers, which is in keeping with their aim of being a source of quality products and service for the hospitality industry and larger community.
However, Josanne says, they can produce customised recipes for any specific needs.
Riccardo and Massimo, who became business partner in 2016, go to Italy at least once a year to source new products and get inspiration for new recipes.
“We import a lot of things, flour and pizza toppings and wood briquettes for the wood fire oven, so, we like to stay with the trends. Italian trends.”
Arancini Art and Food Art Distribution, 32 View Road, Epping. Inquiries: 9408 0499 or aranciniart.com.au