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Italian foodie’s takeaway service goes far and wide

Kirstie Newton

Truro’s best-known Italian has just launched his takeaway ready meals onto the national market, a year after introducing them the day after the first lockdown began.

Ugo Massabò, owner of TiramisUgo and The Cornish Italian, dispatched his first UK orders on Monday, March 22, and had delivered 50 within a week.

The success exceeded Ugo’s expectations, and grew out of a difficult period for the business.
“In March 2020, I had all the stock but no events because of the pandemic, and just £75 in the business account. I was in a very difficult situation, and hardly sleeping,” recalls Milan-born Ugo, who is 29 and based in Tregony.

“Then my mum was approached by Polgooth Parish Council about providing meals for people who were shielding at home.

“She said she couldn’t, but perhaps I could. I went home, drafted up a menu, and put it on Facebook, where it got 60,000 views in one day. That showed us the way, and the Cornish Italian was born.

“It was totally unexpected, and changed a situation of difficulty into one of prosperity.
“Fortunately, I had the luck and the ability to change according to the situation – I always say, we don’t business plan so much as problem solve, and that’s key in current times.”

A meal box includes home-made pasta dishes, breadsticks and Ugo’s signature tiramisu to finish.

Orders were initially delivered by car to locations west of Bodmin, a service now restricted to within a 15-mile radius of Truro; all other orders are now sent by DPD to arrive the following day at destinations across the UK mainland, with the furthest being shipped to Scotland.
Closer to home, you can buy tiramisu and ready meals at Truro Farmers Market on Saturdays, and direct by click and collect from the premises at Tregassow Manor in St Erme.

All packaging is recyclable, and sheep’s wool is used to keep the ready meals cold until they arrive, when they can go either straight into the microwave, frying pan or the fridge for later.

Ugo thinks this makes The Cornish Italian the first business to offer a UK-wide takeaway e-commerce full meal service, as opposed to a meal kit that then has to be home-cooked.

Ugo’s first catering venture, TiramisUgo, was born in 2018, bringing his late father’s authentic tiramisu recipe to the masses, hand-delivered locally in Ugo’s trusty three-wheeled Piaggio Ape.

He has since sold 25,000 portions of the quintessential Italian dessert, all hand-made, and scooped a Gold Taste of the West in last year’s awards, as well as a One Star Great Taste award.

It’s a family affair, with mamma Daniela pitching in on a part-time basis, while Ugo’s wife, Laura, is taster-in-chief, recipe consultant and above all, “my strength”.

As for Ugo, “I’m working 20 hours a day, and need to find a way of stabilising the business, which has gone slightly mad,” he laughed.

For more information and to view the takeaway menu, visit www.cornishitalian.com

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