Meet the couple bringing authentic Italian food to Gloucestershire
When friends whipped up the idea for an authentic Italian deli in Cheltenham, Chris and Michela Windsor grabbed a âpizzaâ in action.
Now the couple say business hasn’t stopped since My Pastalicious started in downtown Cheltenham in May.
What started out as a stall at the Farmer’s Market on the Promenade, is now a boutique in the old Axiom building on Winchcombe Street, offering a range of Italian sandwiches including tramezzini and focaccia, sauces and oils as well as Italian lemonade.
READ MORE:We try the ‘gem’ of Cheltenham selling a flawless lunch for just Â£ 2.50
Michela admits that she never anticipated the kind of success she and Chris are enjoying now.
“At first, we didn’t have the store in mind.” she said.
âWe got the idea initially because Chris and I love to see my family and when we go to visit them we love to go to these cute little places where they cook their own fresh food.
âWe started doing it on our own and every time we prepared food we always overdone it so we had leftovers to distribute to friends.
“Then our friends started saying ‘oh you should sell it’ and at that point I was still home with the kids, so we thought, why not?
âWe started at home, so we advertised on Facebook and social media.
“Then we started at the Farmer’s Market and it worked really well.”
The idea for the charcuterie was born after seeing a gap in the market for authentic Italian food sold in an independent store.
Michela explained: âThere are a lot of Italian restaurants around, and you can buy Italian food at 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 things.”
The duo are a huge fan of Italian cuisine and regularly bring back a batch of specialties to sample in Cheltenham.
âWhen we go to Italy, we always bring an extra suitcase for the food we bring back.
âFor example, once, on our way back from Italy, we brought back a whole suitcase full of a vegetable called Raddichio, which is so special and you can’t find anywhere else.
âSo when we went through security at the airport, security was like ‘what is this ?! “
âI’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, like chutneys for cheese, as well as from southern Italy in Puglia.
According to Michela, the response so far has been “unbelievable”.
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She said: âPeople 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 are pasta and focaccia, the fillings of which change daily.
Initially with focaccia and sandwiches, the deli has now expanded into a cafÃ© so that customers can enjoy the authentic Italian experience in the open air.
“Lots 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.
âIt has been quite a challenge,â she said. âIt has been a very busy month!
âWe now have a few more employees, which really helps.
“We started with a small team but we all developed it together and it’s so special.”
Have you tried the charcuterie? Do you think Cheltenham needs more independent companies like these? Let us know in the comments!