Since it first opened just over a year ago, Gustum Deli has become a key meeting point for Italians living in Chester to socialise and enjoy authentic food from their homeland.
The independent eatery was opened by former restaurant manager Marco Di Pasquale in April this year after years of harbouring the ‘crazy’ idea to start his own business
Sicilian-born Marco invested all his own money into Gustum, which is located on Chester’s historic city walls near Northgate Bridge, believing that Chester had much to offer, and having lived in the city for 20 years, because he thought the ‘people are amazing’.
Gustum prides itself on authentic Italian produce - Marco’s extra virgin olive oil comes from his own olive grove in Sicily, and every day he makes fresh cannoli made from Ricotta that comes from the sheep, not the cow - ‘just how it must be’.
“We treat the ingredients with the utmost respect and use only fresh products trying to use local ones when possible,” he said. “We pride ourselves on the quantities we serve, including our unqiue selection of cakes and desserts including our homemade tiramisu.”
And being completely unique, at Gustum, you can even get a cafe latte served in a special colour to match your mood, and the cafe has its own little shopping corner where Marco sells tomato products and pasta for those who want to cook with real Italian food at home.
As well as staying true to his home country, Marco is also passionate about Chester - a place he visited decades ago, ‘absolutely loved it and decided to stay’. He admits Chester is going through ‘some changes’ lately but insists the city just ‘needs some time’.
“Lots is going on in Chester at the moment and is not easy to make everyone happy,” he said. “The council is investing lots of money into our city and not everything can be done in one day, it needs time.
“Lots of small entrepreneurs like me in this city put a lot of hard work into trying to survive in this economy ruled by ‘big companies’ and we believe that each one of us can make a difference,” explained Marco.
“We help as much as we can - we are in co-operation with Chester Art Centre and hold exhibitions of local artists that want to have some exposure and we also help Deva Samaritans in raising funds that are much needed.
“Here at Gustum, we truly believe that welcoming the customer is like meeting an old friend to have a chat with and relax over some nice comforting food. We hope that’s what we have achieved in our first year.”