A Touch of Italy imports a wide selection of authentic Italian food, beverages and confectionery from regions renowned for their produce including Veneto, Sicily, Piedmonte, Tuscany, Rome and Trentino. From gourmet chocolates, olive oils and coffee to some of the finest Italian wines and hard-to-find ingredients, they take great pride in bringing a touch of Italy to New Zealand.
Their commitment to quality means they stock an extensive range of top quality Italian delicacies and take the utmost care from packaging to transportation so their clients can be sure they’re getting the best.
In business, their values are similar – to be fair in all our dealing with both customers and suppliers, ideally to “under promise and over deliver”.
A Touch of Italy started in 1989 with their first container arriving just before Christmas – talk about silly season! The owner Phil was a marketing manager for a motor company, responsible for the brands Fiat, Lancia and Ferrari. So he moved from Italian cars to Italian food and wine – a passion developed from a number of Italian trips and nurtured by an Italian colleague.
Phil describes the journey as a tough one, a lot harder than he initially envisaged. He and his wife Ann pioneered the way for importing unknown Italian products; simple things like Marsala wine for example –it’s used in a lot of Italian cuisine – which was being made in New Zealand and was very different to the genuine article (which they happily introduced). The local Italian restaurants preferred the ‘sweeter’ New Zealand style. Then they landed their second shipment which contained a sweeter version and it was a hit! Now they sell equal volumes of sweet and dry to cater for all palates.
Phil reflects on Gilligan Sheppard’s role in the journey;
“Gilligan Sheppard was right with us from the start – the fact that
Ann’s brother was one of the partners meant he had a personal interest in not letting us get ‘too out of control’ and they have been with us through thick and thin as we expanded with advice in many areas and very recently as we changed to a new computer system which has been a rather trying time.”
Phil and Ann believe the future is looking bright in a number of areas – the economy is helping, they have a good team and they are introducing a number of new products, including some very good gluten free products – a market that is becoming quite demanding and expanding quickly.
Their online business is scheduled for a major shake-up as is our website with the arrival of a new staff member later this month.
Touch of Italy ensures all products arrive in the same condition as they leave Italy. They ship in temperature controlled containers which adds a little extra cost, but it does mean the products (including wines) are not overheated and arrive in pristine condition. Not all food and wine importers in New Zealand and Australia use temperature controlled containers.
They are passionate about their brands which include many famous ones and they want you to share in the passion. They recently earned over 25% of all the Gold Medals awarded for International red wines in the New Zealand International Wine Show, a testimony to their suppliers and how they are shipped to New Zealand.
“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try,
sometimes you might find you get what you need.”