Benjamin Leung scoured the Italian countryside sourcing prized produce for his new delicatessen in Hong Kong. He drove thousands of miles touring farmhouses to buy pasta, salami, cheeses and purest olive oil. From Lombardy to Calabria, he was on the trail of home-style delicacies - just like mama prepares - or out-of-the-way vineyards making obscure wines that are rarely exported. Nice work if you can get it? 'It was a wonderful experience,' said Mr Leung, who has just opened a tiny corner of Italy called Vino & Olio in Lan Kwai Fong. 'I drove 3,000 miles in two weeks and visited parts of Italy that tourists rarely see. I met the producers and shared their food and wine.' What he discovered was the produce that now overwhelms customers at Vino & Olio. 'The pasta is simply the best in Italy and probably the world,' Mr Leung said. 'I met the farmer who grows the wheat. He used to sell his grain to pasta makers but decided they were doing a mediocre job. So, he went into production himself. I can honestly say I enjoy eating his pasta without even salt or olive oil.' Salami and prosciutto-making was a 'real education', he said. 'They explained how they test the salami for quality and distribute the product. What you buy in stores is not the best - that is always sold at source.' The new delicatessen, an olive-pip's throw away from Va Bene restaurant that Mr Leung opened with his partners in 1993, offers such mouth-watering produce. Explaining the name, he said: 'Wine and olive oil is the perfect couple, an Italian-style marriage.' The concept was 'simply inspired by the kind of delicatessen paced with specialties and freshly prepared take-away dishes you find in little towns and villages all over Italy'. In season, even prized delicacies such as white truffles, asparagus, porcini mushrooms and fresh figs will be for sale. But if Mr Leung's food odyssey was a joy, his search for Italian wines and liqueurs to stock the racks upstairs turned out to be a revelation. Guided by the legendary Italian wine connoisseur Burton Anderson, author of countless books on the topic, he found vineyards selling superb vintages at bargain prices. 'The great thing about Burton is that he judges wine on taste and not price,' Mr Leung said. 'He persuaded me to try one of his firm favourites and it was delicious.' Better still, the retail price at Vino & Olio is a mere $75. Few of the other vintages, including a rare segrantino varietal produced by fewer than half-a-dozen wineries in the world, retail for more than $130. 'Italian wine is delicious,' Mr Leung said. 'But the industry is not good at marketing, especially abroad.' He asked several why they had never before exported. The answer: why bother? They sell enough on their doorstep to make a living. Despite being a Hong Kong businessman, Mr Leung is reluctant to contradict their logic. 'This really all started as a hobby for me. I went with some friends to Italy in the late 1980s, loved the food and returned to find I could not even buy decent olive oil in Hong Kong. 'We started importing a few things, next came the restaurant and now the delicatessen, which was an obvious development. But it's still like a hobby to me and I love it.'