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In the News

CREDIT:Spark St. Jude
Diana and Bill Ashworth,
founding owners, Plantation Italia

Plantation Italia
5155 Highway 9 (Atlanta Highway)
Suite 105


Point of Origin

Alpharetta couple brings Italian specialty items to the south!

By Hope S. Philbrick

On the Plantation Italia Web site, owners Bill and Diana Ashworth state their simple mission: “We are committed to selecting quality products, rich in tradition, offering unique qualities that distinguish them from other products and that are natural and basic in their origins.” These words are music to any foodie’s ears. The Sunday Paper recently talked with the Ashworths for the inside scoop on their growing business.

Q What inspired Plantation Italia?
A Diana:
We had a store in New Jersey that specialized in balsamics, olive oils and gift baskets. We had the store about three years and were in business on the Internet about 10 years. We decided to give it up so we could come down and be near children and grandchildren.
    I always wanted to do an Italian specialty store. My grandmother was Sicilian and therefore there are quite a number of items from Sicily in the store.
    Plantation Italia fills a huge niche. In the northeast, every town has one or two Italian specialty stores but there’s nothing similar to this in Atlanta.

What are Plantation Italia’s specialties?

We have all the meats and cheeses that we can import from Italy. What we can’t import is salami, and so we get that out of New York. We have the deli, and we do takeout meals. I make lasagnas for two, meatballs, a fabulous antipasto salad. Bill and I both do trays for parties. Bill makes a pasta fagioli when it’s cold, chilly and damp. He does an olive tapenade. We do fresh Italian sausages with our recipes from New Jersey. And we have sauces, pastas, condiments and imported jars from Italy filled with biscotti, cookies, balsamics and olive oils. We also have gelato made by an Italian family with heavy creams and milks; it’s all natural.
Sometimes we do balsamic tastings in the evening for six to 10 people.
We deal directly with importers so we can give customers a better selection. We know that our items come from Italy. And we take the time, if someone doesn’t know anything about a particular product, to explain it. Everyone loves Italian food, but it becomes a question of “How do I do that?” Celebrity chefs Giada De Laurentiis and Mario Batali showcase Italian foods on their shows, and, for the most part, we have the products that people need to replicate these recipes.

When you deal directly with importers what you’re doing is circumventing a distribution problem. Normally what will happen is that an importer will deliver product to a distributor then that distributor waits for someone to order that product. That means the product sits around until they get an order; it’s first in, first out. What we’re doing is placing orders directly with the importer so we are the first to receive a delivery, no waiting. This is very important particularly with cheeses, which we do import. Cheeses like buffalo mozzarella really have a life span of about three weeks. When I order direct from Italy, I’m really only losing two days rather than a week and a half. Most big stores have a standing order and by the time it comes to their store they have about a week to sell it. Generally they don’t sell it in time so it sits even past the expiration date—people often don’t know where to look for expiration dates on imported products; it is there and you have to pay attention to it. We can deliver a fresher product to our customers by eliminating the middleman.

What’s in the works?

Bill: We are about to implement a meet-the-chef program. We’ll have guest chefs in who will be preparing food from all the stuff we have on our shelves, answering questions about recipes, what goes together and how to prepare these foods. This will be a no-cost feature, and we’re getting ready to kick it off soon.

Sunday Paper


About the Women of Savory Networking

Diana Ashworth, Owner & Chef of Plantation Italia, and her husband, Bill, opened Plantation Italia, an Italian marketplace and deli, in Alpharetta in 2006. They work with Italian importers in New York and New Jersey and distributors to bring the best products out of Italy. Offering take-out dinners such as home-made lasagna for two, Diana's famous antipasto salad, manicotti, cannelloni, stuffed shells and home-made sauces as well as meat and cheese trays for private parties and wine tastings and offer an array of catering dishes for any corporate, holiday or family gathering, Plantation Italia also carries an array of sauces from Italy & New York, imported meats, cheeses, olives, fresh Italian sauce and a freshly prepared scrumptious olive tapenade.



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©2009 Plantation Italia, Inc.
We're located at 5155 Atlanta Hwy (9) North, Suite 105
Mardi Gras Plaza Shopping Center
Alpharetta, GA 30004 

Plantation Italia


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