Casamassima Italian Fare
Our story began in 2014 when four Italians approached New Zealand with the possibility to bring artisan Italian food and wine to the country. It would not just be any product but only the best Italy’s market has to offer. The group came to the conclusion that most existing products, labelled as “Italian style”, are made in New Zealand and Australia and were of average quality. So it took over a year travelling around Italy, we were told, tasting all the yummy handmade products and deciding which ones to represent in New Zealand. The selected range was impressive and needed to be showcased somewhere. Two of the group stayed in Italy and took care of the logistics, and Marco, who already lived in Christchurch and Vladimiro, who packed bags and moved the family across the ocean, set up a place on Salisbury Street.
An experienced hospitality manager was needed to help with the dream. That is when Jenny came into the picture. It did not take very long for the Showroom to become a restaurant over the weekends. Too many people were asking for the possibility to dine in, that it was decided to ‘give it a go’ and almost overnight Casamassima was fully booked every Friday and Saturday night.
” A few chefs, that had come to dine with us”, Jenny says, “were amazed with how we could possibly cook for so many people in that little kitchen”, and laughs. “With all the repeating customers we started to feel like a family,” she continues. “Greeted with hugs and kisses on arrival and the odd Limoncello with Vladi, when he finished cooking for the night and mingled with the customers. And still to this day, lots of people are asking us, if we would open a place like Casamassima again one day.”
Not only was the focus on the shop but also on educating and selling our product range outside of Salisbury Street. Attending Food shows across the country, Italian events, festivals and caterings for all sorts of occasions.
In 2019, Vladimiro and his family had to take the tough decision to move back to Italy for unforeseen circumstances. That was when COVID hit and selling the business was nearly impossible.
Jenny was approached by Gianfranco, a regular guest at Casamassima, about the possibility of continuing the venture together and so it happened that one evening in front of a fire it was decided that with Vladimiro’s help from Italy, Jenny’s knowledge of the business and Gianfranco’s know-how, we will continue the import and sale of artisan Italian food and beverages.
Today we are pleased to carry on connecting with many different people and businesses all over New Zealand, sharing the love for exceptional products. Casamassima was built on the passion and belief that food is not only about feeding the body but also about culture, tradition and connecting with family and that is what we continue to be all about. Please check out our website www.casamassima.co.nz to see what we have got for you.