Our Story

 

Francesco Occhiuto first opened the doors to the Montreal landmark, La Baia dei Formaggi, in 1973. Mr. Occhiuto began working with cheese at the young age of 13, opening his own cheese stand in the Catanzaro market in Calabria. This set in motion a lifelong passion for cheese and quality Italian products. In 1967, Mr. Occhiuto immigrated to Canada with the wish to continue working in an industry that he was passionate about alongside the Italian community. It is for this reason that La Baia dei Formaggi was founded: a passion for cheese and quality Italian products, and a desire to help the Italian community feel at home. In 1985, Mr. Occhiuto founded Les Importations Mini Italia, a successful import and distribution company. Finally, it was in 1997 that Mr. Occhiuto was the first to import Italian Parma Prosciutto in Canada! In present times, Mr. Occhiuto’s vision has evolved into a family endeavor. Daughters Stephany and Patricia run Les Importations Mini Italia, while daughters Marie-Christine and Luciana run La Baia dei Formaggi alongside their father.  

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At La Baia, our focus is on bringing our customers specialty, quality, and exclusive products mostly from Italy, but also products from other European countries, as well as local goods! Many of our products are in fact privately imported from small local businesses in Italy. It is important to us to support small family businesses rather than to sell mass manufactured goods. That is why many of our products are artisanal! We even make our own in-house pizza dough, pasta, sausages, and so on.  Our family also travels to Italy yearly to meet with artisans and to find new high quality goods! We even have our own family-owned brand of fine products from Italy, Golosini.  Our private import Golosini gluten-free and preservative-free mortadella from Bologna, Italy, is, in fact, rated one of the best. We also import organic and unfiltered olive oil directly from our family owned olive grove in Calabria. In addition to this, we are the only ones in Canada to sell 40, 48, and 60 month Parmigiano Reggiano. And most importantly, we have the biggest selection of cheeses in eastern Canada! We have over 400 varieties of cheese, as well as over 80 varieties of deli meats, over 80 specialty artisanal pastas, in addition to olive oils, balsamic vinegars, coffee, Italian stewed tomatoes, antipastos, porcini mushrooms, and so on! And finally, we’ve been told by our customers that we make the best Italian paninis in town! We are a paradise for foodies!

 

Come visit Italy, not far from home!

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