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2026 NSW Australia

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 © Copyright Mia Cucina 2018

Sharing Stories With Australian Cultured Butter King, Pepe Saya

May 11, 2015

 

Meet the guru behind the name, his name, Pepe Saya. Born to a Lebanese father and an Australian mother, Pepe grew up in Lebanon where his father owned his own metal forging business. Leaving behind his fathers' dream of continuing the family business, Pepe followed his nose in search of the finest cultured butter in the Southern Hemisphere. 

If you ask the entrepreneur for his favourite restaurant in Sydney, his response will be the Kibbeh Nayeh at ‘my sisters place’ delivered with a grin from cheek to cheek. Coming from a multicultural background, Pepe grew up on dinners like Chinese, steak and salad, and traditional Lebanese, but every Saturday the family would sit down for a roast dinner – a tradition that still lives today. Pepe has always been influenced by his mother’s Aussie palette. Borne out of her CWA (Country Womens’ Association) recipes, Pepe’s mother’s recipes included fruit chutney spiced with sultanas and the traditional cobbler of seasonal fruit encased in a golden pastry crust.

When I say the word Lebanese, Pepe licks his lips at the thought of Manoush at his favourite local – the Arncliffe Bakery. Located on 98 Wollongong Road, Arncliffe, the bakery is famed by locals for Manoush, a pizza-like dish consisting of dough topped with za'atar, cheese, veggies, labneh and ground meat. And when we talk sweets, Pepe’s all time favourite is the Ricotta Cheesecake at Pasticceria Papa 145 Ramsay Street, Haberfield and 75 Hall Street, Bondi Beach. This traditional Italian cheesecake has a delicate and light pastry on the outside, filled with the creamiest, sweet ricotta filling with a dusting of icing sugar and cocoa on top that sticks to your lips. Well worth the drive to either destination.

As we prepared to enter the factory floor, Pepe very proudly spoke of his staff, with the belief of any successful business, respecting and rewarding his employees is the backbone of his business. As we adorned our factory garbs, Pepe began discussing the importance of supporting Australian products. In the 80’s and 90’s buying imported French cheese in Australia was a sign of prestige and esteem, when in actual fact, our local producers were making artisan produce like cheeses for many years, just without the imported label or price tag.

Pepe’s message was loud and clear. Support local industries, buy locally grown produce and goods so Australia can develop, create, expand and diversify, showcasing the world that this young country has world to offer.

In the past 5 years, Pepe and his team have transformed his dream into a reality, now providing the top Australian restaurants and providores with premium artisan butter, offering exactly what Australians can produce, when given a chance.

Walking through the factory was like pacing the corridor of the maternity ward. I watched as the tiny balls of cultured butter were separated and individually nurtured by each of the staff members, as they carefully and gently enveloped them in their own little foil wrappers. These newly born butters are sealed, stamped and ready for the world of fine artisan gastronomy. Or astronomy. 
 

Pepe is married with 2 sons, Seb and Oli and when asked what his future holds, Pepe has one word, 'Empire'. People often tell him how much money he could make if he sold the business. But his business is not just the money. It’s a family. This family-run business has his beautiful wife on accounts, his gorgeous sister in operations and all their love, sweat and tears are manifested in all their successes. ‘And to be happy’ says this Lebanese Australian father and creator of artisan cultured butter, ‘Happiness is the key to life’.

 

Today we watched the process involved in producing the tiny individual cultured artisan butter pats for Qantas Airlines. here's a snapshot...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiramisu

The origins of tiramisu, translated means, 'Pick Me Up' in Italian, are not very certain. Some date back to the 1960s, it seems in the restaurant "El Toula" of Treviso. Another version places his birth in the late seventeenth century in Siena, when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de 'Medici decided to trasferisi for a few days in the city. The confectioners Siena decided to build, in honor of the Grand Duke a cake that represented what were the characteristics of the noble. It had to be a sweet "important" that contained within it simple but tasty ingredients; it was important that it was gorgeous and greedy as the noble loved the sweetness. It was made so that the current tiramisu then, in honor of its grand duke was called "soup of the Duke." Legend has it that became the sweet beloved by the courtiers who attributed the fresh and exciting aphrodisiac properties. Then spread the habit of consuming large portions before each sexual encounter. And then the "soup of the Duke" changed his name and took that very suggestive of "tiramisu".

 

6 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar
500 g Pepe Saya mascarpone
2 x shots of hot espresso coffee 
2 tablespoons Marsala, Kahlua or Amaretto
400 g packet savoiardi biscuits
 

 

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and white. Add the mascarpone and mix until just combined and smooth.

 

Beat the egg whites until thick and stiff, then gently fold into the mascarpone mixture.

Combine the coffee and liqueur  in a bowl. Dip the savoiardi biscuits into the liquid, remove and squeeze the biscuits between your hands to remove the excess liquid and then place one layer on serving plate or glass bowl.


Add a layer of mascarpone cream and continue layering, finishing with cream on the top. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2-3 hours. Before serving, cover the top with sifted cocoa powder. 

 

We served our Tiramisu with Strawberries tossed in Balsamic Vinegar, which is the absolute perfect partnership for this traditional Italian dessert.

 

Serves 6

 

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