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Our story, the story of Italyabroad.com.
Italyabroad.com’s story began in 2003 in Newcastle, in the north of England. Andrea, the founder, started a few years earlier in a village called Gissi in Abruzzo, a beautiful Italian region on the Adriatic coast. Andrea grew up in a family where his mum and grandma would make fresh pasta and cook a 3 course lunch and dinner every day and his dad and granddad produced their own wine and olive oil. When it was time to eat, the whole family would sit together at the table, twice a day, every day, and Andrea was allowed from a very early age, to have a sip, just one, of the family wine, his grandma used to say that the wine would have made him stronger and probably she was right. This was Andrea upbringing and the beginning of his passion and a few years later, Italyabroad.com.
After completing university and a few years in the corporate world, Andrea decided it wasn’t what he wanted to do, he decided to leave everything he had and do something he really loved and had a passion for, and it could only have been something to do with food and wine. Not only Andrea had the knowledge, coming from a wine and olive oil producing family, but he felt that the Italian products available in the UK were not what he had when growing up, the majority of products were not available in Italy, despite having an Italian name or an Italian sounding name and a “made in Italy” stamped on the label, and their quality wasn’t the quality he was used to.
In 2003, Italyabroad.com was born, this is a short video we made to celebrate our 17th birthday, Italyabroad.com was one of the first online retailer of Italian wine and food and possibly the first working only with small producers, and started with a portfolio of 2 wineries, 8 wines in total, and a few food products, all from Abruzzo. Italyabroad.com wasn’t just a website, was Andrea’s passion, life and dream.
The philosophy of Italyabroad.com was and still is, small independent wineries and producers because we believe that they offer the best value for money, outstanding quality, respect for the environment, they don’t charge crazy price but only enough to cover their cost and make a living. Small food producers because their food doesn’t have a 2 pages ingredient list with codes and numbers that require an encyclopaedia to understand their meaning, small producers because they only use natural ingredients without adding preservative or conservative or kilos of salt or sugar otherwise the food will be tasteless, and lastly, because small producers are real people like us, they are not corporations, we can talk to them.
The beginning of Italyabroad.com wasn’t easy, very few people believed in Andrea’s principles and ethos. Wine and especially Italian wine isn’t a straight forward subject. Italy makes a lot of wine, including a lot of bad one, and trying to explain the difference between a good and a bad wine wasn’t easy. Italyabroad.com has not been an easy ride, we have seen a deep recession, supermarket shelves are full of cheap wine and industrial food sold as authentic, but we have always been faithful to our beliefs and principles and never compromised and we are still here.
During this time, to our initial 2 wineries from Abruzzo, plenty more have been added with hundreds of wine and plenty of food as well, from olive oil to Balsamic vinegar, and the very few times we have entered competitions we always won. In 2012, we entered the Sommeliers Wine Awards and not only we came home with 4 gold medals out of only 6 wines entered, the other 2 won silver, but were also awarded Best Newcomer Wine Merchant of the year, and not because we were new, but we had never entered the competition before and were not based in London, and in 2018 we won the “Best UK independent retailer” at the People Choice Award.
This is what the motivation behind our award “We saw a lot of new submitters at this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards, so competition for this award was intense. In the end, it went to Italyabroad.com – a Leeds-based company that was new to all of our judges. Key to its success was not just its ability to deliver four impressive Golds from a relatively small overall entry, but to deliver genuinely interesting wines at excellent prices. ” Nowadays there are too many competitions and they are very expensive, and we, together with our producers, have decided that it is not worth entering them anymore.
We only import the best Italian wine and food, we put our faces on every single product, we only sell something when we genuinely think that tastes great and offer good value for money, we taste every single product we sell, you can trust us 200%, we don’t buy based on prices. This is our story and our future and thanks to all of you, after all those years, we are still here and stronger than ever and our products are now sold all over the world, from the USA to China..
After starting as an online retailer of Italian wine and food, due to demand, over the year have create a wholesale division and supply some of the best hotels and restaurants all over the UK and abroad.
Brian & Shirley
We had our wine night on the 11th March which everyone enjoyed. All the wines were excellent, the Pinot Grigio Cantanghel and Supertuscans Il Sorvegeliante Rigololccio were of part
GuancialeAbsolutely delicious. If you are going to cook authentic italian pasta recipes this is what you need!
Recioto della ValpolicellaAn excellent wine, fruity, perfect for chocolate desserts. Not overly sweet, this wine also work well with cheeses. Delicious
CustozaA real favorite of ours, from years of visiting Italy but proving harder to find in the Uk. A well rounded white wine - not acidic - easy to drink with food or on its own
Prosecco DOC TrevisoVery light and enjoyable Prosecco
Kuddia Di Zefantastic IGT full of character, well-bodied, strong nose, ages well, enjoyed it with cheeses, recommend strongly
Thank you for a great evening! :-) we will try + visit again from Scotland
Excellent night - thank you very much for a lovely nigh. Very knowledgeable - learnt a lot about wine
Alex Thank you for the hamper - and the additional surprises. It is fantastic. We will enjoy this together. Please keep up your excellent produce and service