Meet Joanna Cini Stafrace, mum to Nora (who is 8 years old). Joanna is all about eating well, loves to travel and cooking is her passion. Joanna and her husband, Reuben, own The Deli in Swieqi where one can buy home-made food as well as a variety of other interesting gourmet products.
I’ve popped into The Deli many a time for a lunchtime salad or a wrap and have also bought a few of their hampers as gifts for friends. Their food is super tasty and I love the fact that they constantly change up the menu, keeping it interesting and exciting every time you visit.
I sat down with Joanna to find out more about this delightful little place ….
What inspired you to start up The Deli?
Clean eating is something that I am passionate about – Good, healthy food without nasty additives. I wanted to make this readily available for people to enjoy.
Is the concept just about healthy produce or is there more to it?
The concept is clean, healthy eating that’s delicious and enjoyable. I try to keep it interesting and to emphasize that healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring.
Is there a story behind the ladybird that sits on top of your logo?
The ladybird symbolizes positive energy with a fearless attitude which was needed when the concept started. There wasn’t as much awareness about clean eating at the time so there was a risk factor.
What can one expect to find when coming to The Deli?
The deli offers a variety of salads, wraps, sandwiches and freshly baked goods. Whether its low-fat or fully loaded our ingredients are obtained from sustainable sources. Therefore, each ingredient is incredibly tasty without additional additives or preservatives. We also have delicious gift hampers, filled with the finest artisan food from different parts of the world.
What type of people do you aim to cater for?
People who love good food and people who want a clean planet. We also cater for vegetarians and vegans. Be it breakfast, lunch options, platters, baked goods, we even sell vegan cheeses which is proving to be really popular. If anyone has a specific dietary requirement, we will go out of our way to accommodate his or her needs.
Would you say there is an element of job satisfaction to be had by selling healthy food to people?
There is satisfaction in people coming to eat your food every day and knowing that they follow your same ethos.
I understand that your family run an organic farm which provides The Deli with its fresh produce, what does managing such an operation entail?
The Ladybird Organic Farm provides us with fresh produce whenever available. Our whole family is passionate about natural goodness, the idea of “from the earth to the table”. We are certified organic for olives for oil, table olives, herbs, chilli, rocket, onion, garlic, aloe vera, lemon, peaches, bambinella, plums and grapes for wine. In fact, you can find many of our products, not only at The Deli but at our other two outlets La Coccinella in St Julians and The Ladybird Street Cafe in Gzira. This year we have also started to organize wine tasting tours at our farm in Dingli.
Do you only use local produce?
Whenever possible we always try to opt for local suppliers. However, this is not always possible. For example Avocado, Banana, Blueberries are all ingredients that are not available from local producers.
Would you say that healthy eating has become more prevalent in Malta? And is that reflected in your sales?
I would say that there is a much greater awareness about living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle here and this has definitely increased interest in The Deli’s concept.
As a mum, how important is healthy eating to you and your family?
I have always followed and have been interested in a healthy lifestyle. My awareness has increased dramatically since I became a mum. I only feed my customers the same food that I would feed my family.
How can people find you and get more information about The Deli?
The Deli is located on Qasam Street in Swieqi.