The Cornish Italian: British e-commerce dedicated to tiramisù and Italian specialities

Mar 30 2022, 14:52 | by Michela Becchi
A beautiful story of young entrepreneurship abroad: Ugo, who began to take baby steps in theatre to then find himself with his own business dedicated to the Italian dessert par excellence, tiramisu. Which he ships all over the UK.

The Cornish Italian: the mastermind behind the project

The tiramisu recipe is the same as always, belonging to his father, the person to whom much of the project is owed, but today there are many other menu items, the format is constantly evolving and Ugo's entrepreneurial skills are becoming increasingly refined. But let's turn back the clock and let's start from the beginning: Ugo Massabò, born in 1991 from Imperia, is an artistic director who started working in the theatre at age 15. In 2005, after the death of his father, he created a show in his honour, which was staged until 2012: the boy's artistic projects were manifold, and in the meantime he graduated from IULM and then left for London, still dedicating himself to theatre. He worked at the Royal Opera House, learned to gain European funding, which he later used for the reconstruction of the Hall for Cornwall, a playhouse in Cornwall, and in the meantime he also gained experience at Pret a Manger. There are many experiences to tell, but what counts is the entrepreneurial spirit put in place by Ugo from the beginning: "When I left the theatre, I met Laura, my wife. she was the one who suggested putting my managerial skills at the service of an effective product, one that was simple for me to make and sell."

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TiramisUGO, The Cornish Italian's tiramisu delivery service

Thus was born the idea of ​​TiramisUGO, an artisan tiramisu brand born as an alternative to the classic ice cream sold in theatres. It all began in August 2018, with sales at Cornish markets, "with the first lockdown, on the advice of farmers and traders, I also started selling fresh homemade pasta." He organised a menu, sponsored it on social media, "which I personally curate", and the project of The Cornish Italian started, an e-commerce site of all-Italian goodness based in Saint Erme, which ships throughout the United Kingdom, "since 2021 we have a van and we started with national deliveries, which arrive one day after the order." The business immediately engaged well: in the laboratory there are Ugo, mother Daniela, and two employees, who produce about 300 meals (different ready-made pasta options) and 300 tiramisu a day. The success was such for Cornish Italian that he was also invited to the G7 party held in Cornwall in 2021, "we welcomed Mario Draghi, for us it was a great honour." For some time now, the company also supplies a number of restaurants, "especially with mom's famous lasagna."

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Pasta and tiramisu

People love fresh pasta, and it's very popular for a lunch break, but tiramisu is the real protagonist of the project, distributed frozen and able to keep up to 10 days: "I am very traditional. Initially I used my dad's recipe, which includes both egg yolks and egg whites, today we had to modify it a bit to adapt to the blast chiller and we only use egg yolks for the cream, but the style is always the same." In the beginning, there was only the classic tiramisu, but then over time other variations were born: the famous local distillery Rosemullion, for example, proposed to Ugo to prepare a dessert with their rum, and Rum TiramisUGO was born. Then there is the version with Belgian chocolate, "which uses 78% solid chocolate," a gluten-free version and a vegan tiramisu, "with a preparation made with lentils, vegetable oils and a mixture of rum, chocolate and coffee."

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Marketing and plans for the future

Between videos and captivating posts, the marketing communication efforts  of the brand are carried out with care and love, "I also created the site and it works quite well." Working only with e-commerce, The Cornish Italian does not have a store, but the laboratory is located inside a farm, with a large open space that allows to organise events and make the product even more known. "The project for the summer is to renovate a small farmhouse and organise Italian outing-style parties three times a week, with good products, made in Italy wine and traditional recipes in the typical summer party atmosphere." For the rest, Ugo is satisfied, "we want to continue on this path and value Italian cuisine more and more."

b Michela Becchi

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