The Amazing Sandwiches and Deli at Italian Food Imports

It isn’t as though Italian Food Imports’ sandwiches are a well-kept secret. At lunchtime and throughout the afternoon, there’s a constant stream of people coming in to buy them, fresh made, over the counter. Along with Chris’ Euro Deli this has to be one of my favourite places to get a sandwich in town. To mix it up a little, I went in and asked Massimo Segato, who runs the place alongside his brother Maurizio, what it is about Italian Food Imports that the public ought to know, besides sandwiches.

Massimo makes the point that because people are so fixated on the sandwiches, they often forget that Italian Food Imports is a fully stocked deli, and is one of the best (and the most affordable) places to get Italian goods in town. The difference is, he says, is that because they have (as a family run affair) been in the business 29 years, they know their products inside and out, and can help anyone find exactly what they need. If a kid were to come in, looking to impress his date by making a fancy dinner, they will advise him, step-by-step, on how to win a heart through a warmed up and contented belly. Not sure what kind of cheese or wine goes with a dish? They can definitely advise you. They know how to cut prosciutto just right, and can educate you on the complexities of Italian salamis. Sitting with Massimo, he explains at length how to identify a Soppressata salami and why they are made the way they are. It’s fascinating stuff.

italian food imports - counter

As Massimo explains, “if you have a passion for this business, it shows.” He wants the people who come in to love the food as much as he does. He tells me, for example, that when people first started coming in, getting them to try gorgonzola was “like pulling teeth,” but clients have developed a taste and even demand for the real Italian variety, not cheap imitations. Once, people’s idea of parmesan cheese was limited to the green Kraft bottles, but now his clients are learning that not only is there a better option, but that parmesan comes in many varieties and grades.

italian food imports - sandwich 2

I ask Massimo what unfamiliar cheese he would recommend, and he points me to the Piave Mezzano, a hard cow’s milk cheese, which can be enjoyed on a cheese plate with wine. The flavour is sharp and slightly salty, and seems to melt on the tongue. The cheese discussion makes me regret that I overlooked Italian Food Imports when I was doing my cheese roundup last month.

All of this said, if you haven’t been in for the sandwiches, they shouldn’t be overlooked. While the menu might seem slightly daunting, the main point is that the staff there will be happy to talk you through whatever custom made sandwich you would like to eat, if you don’t feel like picking from the board.  The board choices are perfectly amazing, though. I myself go for a spicy salami, with provolone, roasted peppers, spicy eggplant and an artichoke dressing on a Sicilian-style pretzel bun. Delightful.


Italian Food Imports

1114 Blanshard St, Victoria BC

V8W 2H6 ·


Written By:

Born and raised in the mysterious East (by which I mean Ontario and Quebec, not Asia), Adam migrated out to British Columbia in search of adventure and fortune. He had been at different times a scholar, a musician, a poet and a ...

Comments are closed.