Suggested By You: This Roman pizza in South Manchester is a religious experience

When in Rome... well, Sale Moor

By Ben Arnold | Last updated 7 February 2024

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Valentina and Marco are proper Italian. Not just a bit Italian. Fully, hugely, properly Italian.

Walk into their shop Ceresis (‘chair-ess-sis’, named in honour of Ceres, goddess of grain, agriculture and fertility) in Sale Moor, and you’re greeted like long-lost family, and fed in much the same way.

The pizza they sell is also properly Italian, which of course sounds like an obvious statement, but as the likes of Rudy’s, Nell’s and Ramona show, you don’t have to be Italian to make pizza.

Where Ceresis sits above the crowd is the pedigree that comes with it. Valentina was trained in the pizza-ly arts by perhaps the most preeminent pizzaiolo in all of Italy – Gabriele Bonci, who Vogue magazine once called ‘the Michelangelo of Pizza’, thanks to his services to ‘pizza al taglio’.


‘Al taglio’ means literally ‘to cut’, so pizza by the slice. It’s done best in Rome, where Marco grew up, while Valentina is from just out of town, Ostia, by the seaside. 

Every neighbourhood in Rome has an al taglio place, and now Sale Moor, the lucky sods, have one too. A proper one.

They’ve been in this former butcher’s shop for just a year now, making pizza that is absolutely as authentic as it can be. 


Marco makes up the super-hydrated dough (meaning it contains more water than regular pizza doughs, so it makes a crisp, holey crust), and after a 72-hour rise, it’s baked in huge rectangular steel pans, meaning it doesn’t flop around the place, losing its toppings like an idiot, as you’ll find with Neapolitan pizza – a style Valentina in particular does not care for.

In the basement is where much of the magic happens. He uses a ‘biga’ to make the dough rise, a mass of aged sourdough, which also means that while some pizza might leave you feeling full and bloated, this is light as a feather.

Valentina nails the toppings – there’s always a classic margherita, but the menu varies day-to-day, which just adds to the excitement. Punchy gorgonzola with fried potatoes and fennel sausage, guanciale with egg and pecorino, speck ham with taleggio, cute little mini pizzette, slow-cooked pork pulled from the ribs of the porchetta with fresh fior di latte mozzarella.

And while we’re on the porchetta (cue Homer Simpson drooling gifs), Valentina cooks a whole roasted porchetta every week.

She’ll cut you off a few generous slabs, cut open some freshly made focaccia and stuff it full, with a thick layer of oozing stracciatella cheese, and then warm it through in the oven.

Quite honestly, this is a religious experience. 

Oasis-obsessive Valentina (check the ‘Mad fer wheat’ plaque on the wall, and the bust of Caesar with a Pretty Green bucket hat on) cooks fresh pasta too, offering classes if you wish to learn from a master.

They’ve also started stocking their deli-counter, so this is a one-stop for supper or lunch, and then a chance to load up on sliced mortadella, calabrian spiced sausage, fennel salami, and Italian cheeses.

For pudding? Fresh cannolis, gelato, profiteroles with prosecco cream, pistachio cream croissants, an affogato with a stiff espresso.

This corner of Rome in Sale Moor is pure pizza heaven. We’ll see you in the next life.

166 Northenden Rd, Manchester, Sale M33 3HE

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