Looking for some delicious comfort food to see us through the winter, this month we had the pleasure of meeting Maria Apicella, Founder of Italian pasta and pesto brand Mamma Flora. We caught up over a wholesome bowl of Maria's handmade pasta and found out all about the authentic, natural and fresh products Mamma Flora is bringing from the Amalfi Coast to our dinner tables. Use the code WRAP15 and get a 15% discount on pesto and yellow tomato sauce when you spend more than £15 on the Mamma Flora website!
Can you tell us about yourself and your brand?
My name is Maria and I am the founder of Mamma Flora. I started Mamma Flora in 2017 and it was a dream come true. After years in a corporate job and a backpacking adventure in India I finally understood that we all need to do what we like the most in life, what makes us happy. For me the answer was always there: Food. At Mamma Flora we bring delicious natural food from the Amalfi Coast to your table. Our range includes great artisan pasta made locally by our pasta makers and handmade condiments like pesto and sauces, rigorously natural and locally sourced. We have recently launched a Gluten Free range as well.
Where does your passion for food come from?
I grew up in a small village by the sea in Southern Italy, on the Amalfi Coast. Good food has been an essential part of my life since I can remember. From my great grandmother to my mum, we have always used the freshest, most delicious local ingredients to cook simple but incredibly tasty dishes. When I launched Mamma Flora, I wanted our business and our products to reflect these values of authenticity, deliciousness and transparency.
What ingredients do you use and how do you source them?
At Mamma Flora we use only natural ingredients which are locally grown. For us it is very important to be 100% transparent and to show people where our products come from and how they have been produced. We believe in being a brand people can trust.
Where does your inspiration come from when creating new products and recipes?
Mamma Flora's creations start for sure with my homeland and family's culinary traditions, our main mission is to bring the delicious flavours of the Amalfi Coast to your table. It is also important for our business to listen to people and what their needs are. This happened for example when we launched our gluten free pasta range. Many gluten free customers approached us asking for a gluten free friendly range, we then started experimenting and mixing our expertise with new ingredients and ways of production. The result is an amazing gluten free pasta which has a very similar texture to our traditional pasta, stays al dente and our customers can finally share with their families and friends.
Which product from your range is your favourite and what would you
compliment it with?
I love our Mezzi Paccheri shaped pasta (we also offer this shape in our Gluten free range). It is such a bold shape, people love it! It pairs beautifully with our sundried tomato pesto, you can add some fresh ricotta on top and extra basil, delicious!
What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting up their own business?
I would highly recommend finding yourself a mentor and a co-founder. Owning a business is amazing however there are lots of challenging moments and hard times, being able to confront yourself with somebody who either has been there or believes in the business as much as you do, makes the life of an entrepreneur much easier. I am actually looking for a co-founder myself. If anybody wants to hear more, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I usually start my day with a 20-minute meditation session which I repeat in the early afternoon, a good breakfast and a long walk to the co-working space. Then straight into calls, emails, meetings, shop visits. I try to squeeze in a gym or yoga class, and I try to finish the day with cooking something delicious for my husband or my friends. I love cooking, it is something that gives me great pleasure.
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
My style has changed a lot in the past years, nowadays I wear something casual and effortless which I can wear from morning to evening and on different occasions. I also try to buy less but better-quality clothes made with natural fabrics.
What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
You would probably meet me with a pair of black jeans, a white T-shirt, a woollen pullover and a black leather jacket. And a pair of sneakers of course!
If I wasn't running Mamma Flora... I'd probably work on another food start-up. I love food too much.
The best thing about my job... I love meeting people who enjoy our products.
Words to live by... I have come to believe that there is always a solution to your problems in life.
My day isn't complete until... I talk to my family. I hear from my parents and my brother every day.
A holiday destination I love... Well this is easy: the Amalfi Coast. The panorama is breath- taking, the food is unbelievably delicious and my family lives there.
My ideal breakfast... Homemade nutty granola with coconut yogurt, almond butter and an oat cappuccino.
My favourite London hangout... Regent's Park. I love strolling in the park in autumn or spring.