A Brief History of Vallebona

To kick off our new blog section a little history lesson about our origins seemed like the perfect place to start!

In 1890, Sardinian local Agostino Vallebona started trading Olive Oil and Bottarga with the Northern states of Italy and Spain. It was hardly the glamourous life of a merchant that Game of Thrones would have you believe, instead Agostino would trek for days through the craggy foothills of the Mediterranean, rising from his shelter in shepherd’s huts at dawn to walk all day hauling olive oil and paying his way with chunks of cheese. Through his honest efforts the family business was born and has now passed through four generations of the Vallebona family to Stefano who runs the business today. We still embrace Agostino’s philosophies of quality of produce, entrepreneurship and dedication to our craft in everything we do.

Stefano Vallebona brought the business to the UK in 1997, the first few months consisted of what he affectionately dubs “research” which involved getting to know famous chefs in their high end restaurants and definitely not smuggling suitcases full of Bottarga from Italy to sell to them. Stefano finally realised that his business had truly begun when he opened his wardrobe in his London flat one morning to find nothing but cheese wheels in his drawers and huge sticks of salami where his shirts should have hung. He became the first Italian to trade at Borough market, where he worked hard enough to earn the money to open his own retail space.

Vallebona moved to its current site on Weir Road in Wimbledon in 2003, and the business stayed true to its roots by supplying chefs in world famous hotels and restaurants through V2B, as Stefano did when he first came to the UK, as well as having a public retail space, now called [email protected], which can be traced back to his time in Borough Market. Naoko, Stefano’s wife, also joined the business in 2003 and their heritage of Italian flair and style with Japanese precision and attention to detail is reflected in their white-washed dining room decorated with bottles of Barolo but also Kimonos, where our dinners and corporate and private events are now held, as well as their food which stays true to its traditional Italian roots but embraces modern Japanese influences.