Former Portsmouth Verrecchia's ice cream salesman opens up first Italian deli in the city
AN ITALIAN who worked for a famous ice-cream company in the city has opened a deli bringing all the country's flavours to shoppers.
Alessandro Florio, 51, used to work for Verrecchia, based in Claybank Road, as an ice cream salesman.
Taking his van out and about, he became a well-known face in Portsmouth bringing ice-cold treats to thousands of youngsters during the 1990s.
Now, having purchased the old Verrecchia factory, he has opened an Italian deli on the same site – the first of its kind in the city.
Alessandro said: ‘It was years ago that I worked for them. I used to go out in the vans to the seafront, Emsworth, all over.
‘It was an Italian company and I’m Italian myself so it worked very well.
‘I wanted to carry on supplying food to the community and this was a great way to do it.’
Florios D’Italia opened on July 4, and the owner says business has been going well.
Inside, shoppers can pick from an assortment of pasta, biscuits and vegetables – which are imported from Italy directly and many of which aren’t available in supermarkets.
He said: ‘We get the vegetables in once a week.
‘I think my favourite is the zucchini flowers, you can’t really get them anywhere else but they are delicious.
‘At the moment we’re in the first phase of our plan – I would like to move onto pizza deliveries and get ourselves on Just Eat, Deliveroo and so on.’
The shop is open from Monday to Saturday every week.
For Italians in the city, and those with a love of Italian cuisine, the shop will give them a true taste of the Mediterranean.
‘There are a lot of Italians in Portsmouth, many more than I had realised,’ Alessandro said.
‘From the visitors I've had so far, they seem very thankful that we’re here – it’s like a taste of home for them.
‘I am really excited about this shop and what the future holds for us.’