Buonissimo! A little taste of Italy... on wheels
IF YOU love fine Italian food and see a black van with a map of Italy on it being driven around Byron Bay, you should stop it and say "ciao!" to the driver Stefano Bastianel.
The pizza chef and family man moved to Byron Bay from Genova eight years ago and has started the online business Italian Grocery Store, delivering authentic Italian cuisine to homes around the shire.
Mr Bastianel imports the finest products from his homeland, including pastas, chocolate, pastry, mushrooms, sauces and oils.
"There are products I am importing that I can't find them in the supermarket," Mr Bastianel said.
"Gluten has been changed and people become intolerant and that's probably come from eating no good pasta - not the genuine pasta it used to be. They process it many times and maybe bleach it to keep bugs away.
"Bugs on pasta are a good sign, it means the pasta is good. If pasta doesn't get the little bugs it means even the bugs don't like it."
Don't feel too guilty about indulging, Mr Bastianel said, because the products he imports use "good sugar".
He also stocks one of the oldest chocolate brands in Italy.
"It's surprisingly not known everywhere in the world but Pernigotti is a company from 1860. They make one of the most iconic chocolates," Mr Bastianel said.
But he said the product which pushed him to start Italian Grocery Store were the cookies from Genova company Pasticceria Di Sambuco.
"These cookies are made with only butter, flour and sugar and they melt in your mouth," Mr Bastianel said.
Find Mr Bastianel's products by visiting his van in Byron or at Pizza Paradiso and SPAR in Suffolk Park, Baz and Shaz and Byron Bay Mozerella's pop-up woodfire pizzas nights on Tuesday, and the online e-store with delivery at byronbayitaliangrocerystore.com.au