The Lazio region in Italy has many claims to fame: there's the football team, there’s the popular fettucine alfredo dish and then there’s, em, Irish chippers. What now? Yes, the news that the majority of the Italian chippers that Irish people have known and loved for generations come from the same area of Italy was revealed by journalist and restaurant reviewer Lise Hand on Today with Claire Byrne:

"We all know the names like Forté and Macari and Borza and Cafolla and Fusco, and they all come from a small region in Lazio... It's a district of six villages about halfway between Rome and Naples. And they all originally came here – there were two main reasons. One was – again something probably familiar to a lot of Irish people living in rural Ireland – that the land got sub-divided and sub-divided until it became unusable."

The unlikely migration of Italian people to Ireland to open chippers began with one man, the pioneer behind it all. And it turns out he only ended up here by mistake:

"His name is Guisseppe Cervi and legend has it he stepped off and American-bound boat by accident – which had stopped in Cobh – found himself in Ireland and just basically started walking until he hit Dublin."

Cervi eventually managed to open a chipper on Great Brunswick Street (now Pearse Street) where his wife Palma would ask customers, "Una di questo, una di quello?" meaning "one of these and one of the other?" and thus was born the Dublin phrase, "the one and one".

FM104 DJ Thomas 'Crossy’ Crosse is, it’s fair to say, a dedicated chipper man. He told Claire that he gets a takeout from a chipper once a week, every week. And when he’s doing gigs around the country, he’ll always ask what the best chipper in the town he’s in is. But when he’s at home, Thomas protects the takeout he gets – usually a chickenburger and chips – on his way back from the chipper:

"I just get a chickenburger and chips. But I also get something for the drive home because you don’t want to have the chipper, right, you’re always ravenous, so I get a portion of onion rings, or I get a battered sausage and I have that on the drive home. So, when I get to sit down and relax in front of the television, I have myself a chipper."

Claire wondered if Crossy had managed to work something in to keep himself from starvation while walking from the car to the front door - "Don’t give me ideas!" was Crossy’s reply. So we know what Thomas orders in his chipper of choice, but what about Lise? She likes to keep it real:

"I’m a bit of a purist. I tend to go for a classic, which would be cod and chips or a ray and chips. I’m very fond of a bit of ray as well."

And that led to the revelation that Ringsend in Dublin used to be known as Raytown. Nutritious and educational. You can’t say fairer than that. But then Crossy told us about his discovery of a three-in-one in a tray in a chipper in Thomas Street:

"So what they’ve done was, right, they got the tray, a normal tray, they put the chips in it, they get the chipper curry sauce, which is the proper chipper curry sauce and they got a battered sausage, chopped it all up, mixed it all in together – it's a place called Vincenzo’s on Thomas Street – and it’s unreal! Just revolutionary!"

Revolutionary – but at the same time comforting – food for Crossy. You can hear Claire’s full conversation with Lise and Thomas – including the must-haves like the extra chips thrown in at the top of the bag and lashings of vinegar – by going here.