For 18 years, Valoroso Foods has supplied the staples of Italian and European cuisine to food devotees and culinary connoisseurs in the Okanagan and Canada-wide. The company was founded by Joe Valoroso Sr., one of thousands who came from Italy to North America in the 1960s with the ambition to provide more opportunities for himself and hopefully a future for his children and grandchildren. His dream has been realized and then some.
Joe migrated to British Columbia, where he eventually met his Italian wife, Elisa, and raised his family, but returned to Sicily after spending nearly 25 years in the Canadian logging industry in order to provide his four children an opportunity to learn their native culture and language. In Sicily, Joe started a new business venture, this time it was in the food industry, a lifelong passion he was now ready to pursue. He purchased two grocery stores and spent the next ten years in the food Industry in Italy. The experience he gained would serve as a foundation for what would be the greatest venture yet in the history of the Valoroso Family.
Joe knew that Canada was ultimately where he should live. After settling his family into what was his favorite British Columbian holiday spot - Kelowna - Joe could not find the true quality Italian food from his homeland. Soon Valoroso Foods was distributing the best olive oils, pastas and other delicacies from Italy and Europe to hotel chains, restaurants and grocers Canada wide.
The family bought an additional 40,000 square foot warehouse to store their goods, and before long they were arranging containers in Italy and shipping them directly to their door, cutting down on logistics and allowing the company to source the best quality products from manufacturers in Italy and Europe and make them available to their customers. This partnership with some of the best manufacturers and producers in Italy is what has allowed Valoroso Foods to stay true to their identity as importers not only of quality, but of authentic foods. It is thanks to the relationship with their partners in Italy that Italian household brands and leading lines of products can be shared and made available to all their customers.
Valoroso's own showroom is about sharing the Italian experience - not just the food but the whole culture and history of Italy. Recently renovated, the showroom is complete with an extensive selection of high end meats and cheeses, as well as real (Italian built) coffee bar and tavola calda. "When you go to Italy, you're going to 20 countries. Each region has its own culture, its own food and own traditions," notes Joe.
The showroom and wholesale operation offer an assortment of Italian specialties from the 20 regions; ranging from aged traditional balsamics of Modena, espresso coffees from Sicily, Prosciutto di Parma, Mortadella IGP from Bologna, biscuits and chocolates from Siena, Florence and Calabria, seasonal items like panettone from the Veneto region, fresh truffles from Alba and, just recently, a fresh cheese program that offers Bufala Mozzarella DOP from Campania and the luscious Burrata mozzarella from Puglia made only a few days before, Taleggio DOP and Toma DOP from Piemonte, Fontina DOP from Val D'Aosta and Aged Pecorino Toscano DOP from Tuscany. "We went back to the Italian tradition, the true quality" Joe explains. The renovation of the showroom was a way of giving something back to the community who has supported the family business since the very beginning. The company is determined to have you appreciate their fine products to the greatest extent. In Italy, similar delis are the backbone of Italian eating: somewhere you can go every day and be assured of getting something different and something traditional at the same time.
As a compliment to the showroom, the family plans on eventually adding a high end wine shop which will feature selected Italian wines imported from fellow partners in the Wine Industry as well as great local wines that are produced here in the Okanagan.
Joe, Elisa and their grown children (Anna, Claudia, Angela and Joe Jr.), all of whom work in the family business, continue to share product knowledge with everyone they supply, including the general public. The traditions, heritage and the noble manner in which the family approaches their business is the same manner in which they approach their family life with love, pride and dedication. For this, they have been rewarded with success.