When friends concocted the idea for an authentic Italian delicatessen in Cheltenham, Chris and Michela Windsor grabbed a ‘pizza’ for the action.
Now the couple say business hasn’t stopped since setting up My Pastalicious in Cheltenham town center in May.
What started as a stall at the Farmer’s Market on the Promenade, is now a store in the former Axiom building on Winchcombe Street, offering a range of Italian sandwiches including Tramezzini and Focaccia, sauces and oils as well as Italian lemonade.
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Michela admits she never expected the kind of success she and Chris are enjoying now.
“At first, we didn’t have the store in mind.” she said.
“We came up with the idea initially because Chris and I like to see my family and when we go to visit them, we like to go to these cool little places where they cook their own fresh food.
“We started making it ourselves and every time we made food, we always overdid it and so we had leftovers that we gave to friends.
“Then our friends started saying ‘oh, you should sell it’ and by then I was still at home with the kids, so we thought, why not?
“We started from home, so we advertised on Facebook and social media.
“Then we started at the farmer’s market and it went really well.”
The idea for the deli came about after seeing a gap in the market for authentic Italian food sold in an independent store.
Michela explained: “There are a lot of Italian restaurants around, and you can buy Italian food in the supermarket, but we never found a place like this that sold products specifically from the North.
“So we started looking for a place, taking our time and making the sauces and everything.”
The duo are big fans of Italian cuisine and regularly bring home culinary delights to enjoy in Cheltenham.
“When we go to Italy, we always bring an extra suitcase for the food we bring back.
“For example, once, coming back from Italy, we brought back a whole suitcase full of a vegetable called Raddichio, which is so special and you can’t find it anywhere else.
“So when we were going through security at the airport, security was like ‘what is this?! “
“I’m sure we weren’t the first to do this!”
The products come from all over northern Italy, near where Michela’s family lives, near the Prosecco region, such as the chutneys for the cheese, as well as from southern Italy in Puglia.
According to Michela, the response so far has been “incredible”.
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She said: “People come for what they can’t find in the supermarket, or what reminds them of what they ate on vacation, it’s also a great gift idea.
“It’s also organic and natural, and people care a lot about it these days.”
The most popular products were pasta and focaccia, where the toppings change daily.
Initially starting with focaccia and sandwiches, the deli has now transformed into a café for customers to enjoy the authentic outdoor Italian experience.
“A lot of Italians and English people learning Italian come here just to chat or have an espresso.”
For Michela and Chris, the future of coffee looks bright.
“It was quite a challenge,” she said. “The last few months have been very busy!
“We have a few more employees now, which really helps.
“We started with a small team, but we developed everything together and it’s so special.”
Have you tried the charcuterie? Do you think Cheltenham needs more independent businesses like these? Let us know in the comments!