Posted: Wed 25th Nov 2020

Flintshire pizza business launched in lockdown grows to become popular takeaway venue

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Nov 25th, 2020

A sourdough pizza business launched during lockdown has grown to become a popular takeaway venue in Flintshire. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

‘a pesto’, the wood-fired sourdough pizza company, is based out of an Airstream trailer at the Dolphin Inn, Mold, where owner Stephen Thorp opened in March. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Stephen has previously lectured and published academic texts on public health, so it is ensured the safety of diners and his four-strong team of staff is paramount. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

As is the quality, as their blend of Italian flavours and customer service has resulted in a five-star rating on TripAdvisor and Google, as well as social media plaudits. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

People are asking to order in advance, with the new app now live, and in a single four-hour weekend session they have been known to bake more than 150 pizzas. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


Admitting their success took him by surprise initially, Stephen is passionate about sustainable eating and proud to be a plastic-free business. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He said: “I was advised when I told people about what I was planning to do that it risky and even crazy, which is probably why you’re hard-pressed to find authentic, freshly prepared sourdough pizza anywhere in this region. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The dough is complex to work with and is a living, breathing thing. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Sourdough is a swampy pot of lactic acid bacteria and wild yeasts, which rely on their baker to control the conditions in which it lives, but that challenge is part of the reason I enjoy doing it and why it’s so loved by everyone who tries it. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“That is our biggest selling point; the unique flavours and ingredients we use has drawn people in and given them something different at a time when we all need something to put a smile on our faces.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He added: “‘a pesto’ has an identity – that traditional Neapolitan influence mixed with Welsh pride has allowed us to stand out. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I have even named the white and rye sourdoughs we make after my late grandparents, Glyn and Doreen, as it is synonymous with sourdough baking to name each culture.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​



Stephen’s journey to owning ‘a pesto’ came after he began to struggle with exhaustion and mental health issues. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Advised to find a new focus, Stephen decided to leave education behind to pursue his passion and therefore worked on branding as well as sourcing ingredients. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He said: “I had procrastinated for some time about turning my interest and passion for sourdough and pizza into a business, and when I began to experience ‘burn out’ while teaching, I found working with sourdough to be therapeutic and great for the mind – it offered me a real focus. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“But I didn’t think ‘a pesto’ would be as popular as it has become. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I suppose customers have come to appreciate the love I put into my pizza and appreciate what good quality ingredients taste like. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Our tomatoes are often talked about, as they are fresh and actually taste like tomatoes! How many of us buy tomatoes these days which are bursting with flavour? ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Many of our ingredients are sourced from across Britain. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Our vegan pepperoni comes from a small supplier in Scotland and our Shiitake mushrooms are grown by British mushroom farmers, but there are some ingredients I have to source from Italy such as our superior grade Neapolitan flour, Nduja and mozzarella as they are baked with great, authentic flavour.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


Stephen added: “I had considered growing into a bricks and mortar operation, but I think it’s more likely I’ll buy another trailer and recruit more pizza chefs especially as we’ve had requests to attend weddings, events and festivals from next summer. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We have to expand because it’s impossible with one trailer to do all the things people are asking us to do, and I don’t want to let anyone down. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We are so fortunate and appreciative of the many loyal friends who return to us again and again and will never take that for granted. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We are in a wonderful part of the world and have had a brilliant start despite all of the doom and gloom in the world – long may that continue.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

For more information, visit or follow @a_pestouk on Instagram and @apestouk on Facebook – or alternatively email ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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