We know good tiramisu when we taste it. That’s why when we had our first taste of Christina Maria’s tiramisu, we just had to have it in our stores. These authentic, handmade Italian desserts are made by the husband-wife team of Chef Marc and Christina Alfano.
Even though the dessert is named after Christina, she says it’s Marc’s recipe. “He’s the gifted chef,” she says. “Honestly, I only know half of the recipe!” That might be the case, but the two work together to make and package the tiramisu with an assembly line routine. Everything is handmade, hand-dipped hand-dusted and hand-folded.
Christina Maria’s Tiramisu has only been available in Heinen’s since 2010, so what got these decadent treats to our store shelves? The story really starts about 10 years ago when the Alfano’s opened an Italian deli and Marc began making tiramisu and cannoli – the only desserts offered. They later owned a restaurant where it was a favorite, and although they had to close it during the downturn in the economy, Marc continued to make his award-winning tiramisu for a few friends at other restaurants.
As fate would have it, Christina gave a pan of their tiramisu to a friend at Heinen’s as a gift in 2010. That friend raved about it asked if they could supply Heinen’s with the tiramisu. They immediately said “yes” and got to work.
“Without Heinen’s we wouldn’t be in business,” says Christina. “It was like a new beginning. When we lost our restaurant, we felt lost for a few years. It was devastating. When Heinen’s offered this opportunity to us, it was like starting over.”
Christina and Marc developed packaging and slowly introduced their tiramisu through store samples. “My favorite place to demo is Heinen’s. If we ever close the tiramisu business, I’d get a job working for Heinen’s!” Christina says with a laugh. “Everyone in the store is so welcoming when we come in – I feel like they’re an extended family. “
Christina also says their standards of quality match well with Heinen’s standards. “Our tiramisu is the best quality,” she says. “We could buy cheaper ingredients, but we would never sacrifice quality for cost.”
So after all these years of making and tasting tiramisu, is Christina sick of it? “I get that question all the time!” she says. “I still love it. We rarely sit down and eat a piece, unless we bring it to an event. We’re tasting the cream or different components to make sure the quality control is right.”
Next time you’re looking for a special treat, give Christina Maria’s Tiramisu a try. We bet you’ll be hooked!