Martina is a pucker Italian lady who makes the most DELICIOUS tiramisu, hence Martina’s Tiramisu. Martina and I met up for a cup of coffee and to chat about her little business. What an inspirational story, moving from Italy and embracing the beauty of South Africa with all her heart. So before I give too much away, here is what we chatted about.
Q1 : When did the idea of Martina’s Tiramisu start?
Well, the idea of Martina’s Tiramisu as it stands now only started very recently, around mid August. My original idea was to open a Gelateria (which means “gelato shop” in Italian), but I spent many months looking for the right location, which never arrived. All the shops I found were either too big, too expensive, or not located in strategic high foot-traffic areas, so not suitable for an impulse purchase driven business. So after few months of back and forth I said to myself “You know what? If I can’t get the perfect retail shop, I’ll create my own one online!”. I made myself a logo, a website, a business card and I simply started. After few days, I was already receiving orders and I was very excited!
Q2 : How did you come up with the name?
Tiramisu is not just the most iconic Italian dessert, it’s also my own favourite dessert, so I love preparing it and, after testing it with friends, I decided it was the right dessert to start with! Tiramisu as a word is also simple and easy to memorize so I decided it had to be part of the brand name. I then realized that, if I wanted my brand to show my passion and commitment to provide real Italian home made products, I had to put my own name on it! So there it is: Martina’s Tiramisu.
Q3 : Besides making amazing Tiramisu what do you do?
I wanted to open a Gelateria, so obviously I love making proper Italian gelato (which is different from ice cream!) and also a lot of other sweet deliciousness. I enjoy cooking in general, even savoury stuff, but baking and desserts are my passion. I make cookies, brownies, crostata (which is the Italian for jam tart), a wonderful blueberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse and plumcakes in different flavours (vanilla, chocolate, lemon, caramel), caramelised almonds, meringues, chocolate and coconut truffles, and many other things.
Q4 : What flavours do you have?
I make the more traditional coffee tiramisu, following the authentic recipe, which I tweaked with a family secret touch (my mom makes the most delicious tiramisu ever!), and I also make a strawberry tiramisu, using my own recipe. I usually do not put alcohol, so it’s suitable for kids as well as those who do not drink alcohol, but this can be arranged differently with the customer who places the order.
Q5 : Any secret experimental flavours in the making?
Yes! But I can’t reveal them! ☺ What I can tell you though is that I’m working on a recipe that should meet the South African tastes, so stay tuned!
Q6 : What do you love most about what you do?
Oh, many things!!! I usually put some relaxing music on and go. I love being surrounded by all the baking smells (melting chocolate, vanilla scent, strawberry syrup aroma all over the kitchen) and I love experimenting new recipes. When they are successful, I immediately write them down into my recipe book, which I received as present from my mom when I moved to SA. You know what I also love? All the baking tools! From cake stands, to pans of any shape, to silicon spatulas…Anything! Get me a new cookie cutter for my birthday and you will make me the happiest woman!
Q7 : For aspiring business starters out there what is one piece of advice you can offer?
Gosh, I still struggle to include myself in the category of “actual business starters”, so I really feel honoured to answer to this question. I literally just started, so I don’t have deep wisdom to share, but I definitely have a good piece of advice: do not feel overwhelmed by the social pressure. This is something I read some weeks ago in an article, and I found it very true. When you decide to establish your own business, lots of pressure comes from the social circle of friends, family and previous colleagues. People ask you continuously “How are things going with your project?”, and sometimes you have no updates to share and this generates awkward silent or a sense of embarrassment as you feel you should have updates! Don’t get me wrong: people will do it mostly because they are excited for you, and they want to show you their support, which is amazing! But entrepreneurship, even at simple levels, is a journey, often long and complicated, and it takes time before you see some progress. So once you are confident about your business idea, make a plan and stick to it, do not give up when you see that things go slower than expected. And do not feel the social pressure!
For more information about Martina’s Tiramisu have a look at her Website, or follow her on Facebook & Instagram.