Genobile Brothers An Italian Food Mecca & Great Melbourne Story
This is a great foodie story of Melbourne. Genobile Brothers in the north of Melbourne are an Italian food mecca and major importer and distributor to thousands of customers across Australia. From humble beginnings Genobile Brothers have a huge impact on the foodie scene of Melbourne and Australia. Just in the last year alone they've seen 20% growth in the Melbourne market. Genobile Brothers supply well known retailers such as DOC, LaManna Direct, Colonial Fruit Co, Woodstock Group as well as many well known restaurants.
Where does your Italian food come from? When you're sitting in that Italian restaurant, or at the fresh food retailer, chances are that your food has come from Genobile Brothers warehouses in Coburg. Starting with 3 staff around 20 years ago, Genobile Brothers now employ 80 staff and are a major national operation. Many of the retailers you think are importing Italian brands may well be sourcing products from Genobile Brothers.
The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to check out the Genobile Brothers operation with Sandra Del Greco from leading Melbourne cooking school La Cucina Di Sandra. While at a cooking class, Pino Pasquale from Genobile Brothers invited us to Coburg for a tour.
Robert Genobile the CEO and Pinot Pasquale gave us a tour of the Genobile Brothers warehouses; 40,000 square feet! It was an eye opener for The World Loves Melbourne! The Genobile Brothers hail from Abruzzo in Italy, as does Sandra Del Greco!
It's all about high quality; Genobile Brothers don't worry about the cheap end of the market. Australian consumers are demanding the highest quality ingredients so Genobile Brothers are always looking for the best.
For example, Genobile Brothers import the best pasta from Italy such as the Leonessa pasta from Naples (held here by Pino Pasquale). It's a myth that all great pasta is hand made fresh; in Italy much of the top pasta is dry pasta. And Genobile Brothers import the best extruded pasta. Genobile Brothers stocks rows and rows of DeCecco pasta; some 100 shapes! Sandra Del Greco asked Robert if he had shape 42, and Robert told her he can get it! All things are possible.
When you are eating your pasta in a top restaurant you can be assured that top Italian pasta has been impoted with love and respect.
Genobile Brothers warehouses are huge! Sandra Del Greco pictured with Natalie Pasquale (who works for TigerAir) and Robert Genobile. The rapid expansion has been carried out by the Genobile Brothers themselves. Robert explains how in the early days they couldn't afford a large warehouse; they were able to scale up when needed and took some risks that paid off.
Robert can even trigger trends in Melbourne; if something's "hot" in Italy it's bound to be "hot" in Melbourne. For example, Robert imported San Marzano tomatoes into Melbourne. Now everyone is going crazy over these tomatoes, including many local pizza makers who won't have any other tomatoes on their pizzas!
The best of imported salamis and sausages are imported from Italy to Melbourne; but Genobile Brothers also stocks the best of local salami such as the Princi Smallgoods above. So delicious are Princi Smallgoods, and we were able to take some home.
This is how it works. Genobile Brothers sources some of the "hottest" brands in Italy. They have people "on the ground" who source the best brands. Significantly Genobile Brothers also have the biggest brands in Italy coming to them.
Genobile Brothers bring these Italian foods to Melbourne by shipping container and store in large warehouses. Then they have about 8 trucks arrive each morning to distribute food to customers across Melbourne, but also Australia.
Genobile Brothers import the finest of cheeses, such as this Boni SpA Parmigiano Reggiano. Australians have a greater knowledge of overseas cheeses these days and cheese is a big line for Genobile Brothers.
San Daniele prosciutto is in hot demand in Melbourne! Robert has been known to import 10 containers of San Daniele!
Another "hot" brand is Petra flour as the best pizza dough! Stoneground and not highly refined.
Bolle water is also a "hot" line imported by Genobile Brothers; with a huge warehouse devoted to Italian water!
We also met Elio Genobile, one of the three Genobile Brothers and Sales executive Director; with Robert and Elio treating us to some exceptional hospitality. We didn't get to meet David, the third Genobile brother, as he was away at the time.
Elio introduces product lines to his team for tasting; he figures they need to know the products if they're going to sell them including taste. Genobile brothers just purchased six new fiats for their sales reps; they're a company of style! The World Loves Melbourne loves the old fashioned approach of face to face sales with the customers!
Many of the imported products are from Italy, but also other countries such as Spain and Greece.
Robert and Elio turned out a phenomenal spread for us; the best of Italian foods! They have a policy of tasting all the foods they import and distribute! This makes sense and we wouldn't mind having that job!
One of the surprises was the huge range and sheer amount of Italian water and mineral water they import!
Genobile brothers is a huge operation (expanding in places like Perth and Tasmania) and most people in Melbourne are unaware of its extent and the contribution of Genobile Brothers to the Melbourne foodie scene. We were highly impressed and thanks to the Genobile Brothers (and Pino and Natalie Pasquale) for their generous hospitality!