A long wooden table that wobbles as dishes are passed from one person to the next. The pucker of a briny, refreshing Nocellara del Belice olive. An extra grating of Parmigiano over an already-rich pasta. A plate licked clean. Growing up the Diforti family, our most treasured memories are all to do with food and the people who make it. Our heritage is inextricably linked to the Italian table, and it shines through in each of our products. This is our story, and we’re proud to share it with you.
In 1875, the Diforti legacy was born in a tiny village in Caltanissetta, Sicily. That’s where Michele Diforti, our great-great-grandfather, began collecting olives from local farms. Through experimentation and dedication, he developed preservation techniques that yielded sweet, crisp, bright green olives. At first, he sold them locally – but as his reputation grew, so did his business. Eventually, he loaded his olives into wooden barrels and sent them all over Sicily by train.
In 1909, our great-grandfather, Luigi Diforti, put his own twist on his father’s olive business. Luigi was known throughout the village as a Fogli Amari, an expert at harnessing the power of local herbs to create remedies. He gathered vegetables and almonds from a local prince’s gardens. Then, he used his expertise to pasteurise and jar his bountiful harvest. Thanks to his knowledge and ingenuity, he was able to make his new antipasti products available across the region.
In 1939, the Diforti name began to spread even more quickly once our grandfather, Salvatore Diforti, started supplying antipasti dishes to restaurants, homes, delis and shops around Sicily. He also opened three delis in Strada Foglia, a world-renowned food market in Caltanissetta.
As a result of Salvatore’s exacting standards and fine taste, Diforti blossomed. He sourced products from all over Italy to distribute in his shops, eventually selling as many as 2,000 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano in a single year. With his incredible palate, he developed many recipes, including the sundried tomato recipe we still use today. Salvatore’s reign reached its peak when, with the help of his nine children, he opened the first supermarket in Caltanissetta.
In 1981, Giuliano Diforti, our father, took over the production side of the family business. His dream was to push Diforti to new heights by expanding the company’s product offerings and geographical reach.
After attending various food shows across Europe, Giuliano decided to enter the UK marketplace. He brought in new preservation techniques and new products, and he made sure that everything was made with the highest quality olive oil, the perfect amount of salt and ideal refrigeration methods. Eventually, in 1999, Giuliano shifted his attention to the UK market altogether: he kept the production factory in Italy, but dedicated the business to bringing authentic Italian food to the Brits.
In 2005, we (Carlo, Andrea and Francesca Diforti) took over the business from our father. Our goal? To marry the hard work, ingenuity, passion and ambitious creativity that our family taught us with new ideas and innovations and introduce Diforti to passionate cooks and eaters everywhere.
Today, Diforti’s wide selection of gourmet Italian products can be found in retailers across the UK and in our online shop. We constantly draw inspiration from the vision of our forefathers and the family table of our childhood, and we seek to bring the vibrant flavours of the villages of Italy to British kitchens. From bright green olives just like the ones collected by Michele, to sundried tomatoes made with Salvatore’s original recipe, the products we sell today are thoughtfully sourced and carefully prepared. We pride ourselves on our family’s delicious traditions, and we can’t wait to share them with you, too.