Couple finds opportunities in Salmon Arm with technology and pastries

Welcome Shuswap by Shuswap Immigrant Service Society

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society, located at 371 Hudson St. NE, would like to introduce some of our recent immigrants to the people of Salmon Arm in the hope that all citizens join us in extending a welcome to the new members of our community. Our organization is a non-profit, non-governmental society with a mission to foster a culture of education, tolerance and community that assists and empowers immigrants of the Shuswap region of British Columbia in the integration and settlement of life in Canada.

New to our town are Hillary Paganessi and Simone Bardella.

You will not want to miss a sample of Hillary’s delicious macarons! She is a pastry chef from Italy and has moved to Salmon Arm with Simone, a software engineer who works for Technology Brewing, a local robotics company.

Hillary was born in a beautiful small Italian town in Northern Italy called Polcenigo. After moving to Trieste in 2016, she took a break from her previous work in an office to volunteer as an ISL teacher (that would be Italian as a Second Language) for Afghani and Pakistani immigrants.

When Simone became disenchanted with his job , they decided to do some travelling and planned a bike trip from Trieste to Istanbul , through Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania along the Adriatic coast. Hillary had to cut short her trip to attend her culinary education course, graduating as a pastry chef. Instead, Simone successfully reached Istanbul.

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Four days after the end of the course, Hillary and Simone left for Vancouver. They already had plans in place for a working visa. Simone had studied English, but had not had much opportunity to practise it, while Hillary had no English at all. Within two days of arriving in Vancouver, Hillary had a job at a French Patisserie. Her interview consisted of her pictures on Instagram. There was not much opportunity to practise English at work though.

With their visa coming close to expiring, the couple looked for a sponsor to stay longer, with another visa, and Simone found work with Technology Brewing. They fell in love with Salmon Arm. They arrived in 2018 in August, just in time for the Roots and Blues Festival.

Hillary is currently employed at The Shuswap Pie Company and is busy studying English at OCBC and has joined the conversation circle meeting offered by Shuswap Immigrant Services Society. She is a member of the World Women’s Group who meet regularly. Members range from locals Canadians to those from Usbekistan, Syria, Vietnam, the Central African Republic and more.

Hillary has plans, hoping to grow her business of making macarons, with a view to supplying them to the public for sale. You will find her macarons at the Multicultural Festival on June 27 at Ross Street Plaza.

She produces many flavours of the double-layered macaron, including coconut, blueberry, raspberry, coffee, caramel and, of course, chocolate. Hillary calls her enterprise Cioccolato Mio.

Hillary and Simone experienced cross-country skiing last winter which they very much enjoyed and are looking forward to the summer season and to getting to know the lake. They now have a van, which Simone is outfitting with a bed for travel. When they arrived here they had no car and no driver’s licence – only bikes for travel to and from work. They are really going to enjoy exploring the province this year.

You can see Hillary’s creations on Instagram at hillarypaganessi, and on Facebook, cioccolatomio.

If you see her macarons don’t miss the opportunity to taste them and buy a delicious little box of them for yourself or as a gift.

Submitted by Shuswap Immigrant Services Society

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