Franco Manca Didsbury
Pioneers of sourdough Neapolitan pizza and natural Italian wine purveyors, Franco Manca started out small at Brixton Market in 1986. Now it’s all over London and has footholds outside the capital, with the Didsbury branch making three in Manchester.
On the main road through Didsbury Village, the tried-and-tested formula remains unchanged. Seasonally updated menus and daily changing meat and veggie specials are served in wipe-down, please-all surroundings. Here in Didsbury, it’s all about the bare brickwork dotted with tasteful Italian posters. There are even T-shirts.
Fresh Neapolitan-style sourdough bases are handmade on site every day to an age-old recipe unique to Franco Manca. Legend has it that the secret to the slow-rising sourdough was first procured by the pizzeria’s founder, Positano-born Giuseppe Mascoli and his friend Bridget Hugo, an artisan baker, near the city of Naples. This was in 2008. Plant-based and gluten-free bases are also available.
Toppings wise, organic and locally sourced ingredients are used where possible, such as free-range organic fennel sausage from Yorkshire, along with specially imported produce, such as capers from Salina, Kalamata black olives and Cantabrian anchovies.
You can now choose from eight meat, vegetarian and vegan pizzas on the regular menu, including fan-favourite the “No. 4”, which features roasted cured ham, wild mushrooms, and a mix of ricotta and British mozzarella cheeses.
“No. 8.” is the pizzaiolo’s favourite, and features yellowfin tuna, organic tomato, wilted spinach, shallots and a creamy tuna dressing, plus more of those authentic olives and capers.
For afters, there are classics the likes of affogato, tiramisu and gelato, plus grappa or limoncello, if you fancy. All the wines are Italian, from growers in Piedmont, Abruzzo and Sicily who follow organic or biodynamic processes and hand harvest. Beers include local brews, guest beers and No Logo beer made by Shepherd Neame for Franco Manca while soft drinks include lemonade homemade with organic Sicilian lemons.