How far would you travel for a Parmo and which is the best? Every Summer, larger than life Cacu Alemanno travels ten thousand miles from Marcos Juarez, near Cordoba in Argentina to Middlesbrough via Lama, Peru and Barcelona, Spain on a trip that takes more than 30 hours in travel time, and the first thing he looks forward to when he arrives in Middlesbrough at 12.30am is a famous Teesside Parmo.

The 6’10” Man Mountain is the self professed ‘Parmo King’ and developed a taste for the local delicacy when he used to play for Teesside Lions (formerly Middlesbrough) basketball club.

Every Summer Cacu makes the long journey to coach at The Lions Summer Camp, which attracts young basketball enthusiasts from as far afield as Sunderland, Richmond and even Whitby, as well as a large number of players from the Teesside area. Cacu brings a wealth of knowledge, skill and experience following a professional career that has spanned more than twenty years and at its peak saw him represent his country with NBA star Manu Ginobli.

Still in good shape at 40 years of age and showing no signs of giving up, Cacu signed for his home town club San Martin and helped the team to promotion.

Cacu, who will be in Teesside for one month, humorously said: “I love the Teesside Parmo, I make James drive me straight from the airport and usually I will buy two large parmos, one to eat and one for breakfast! It has been a long time so I have to have two straight away. I was disappointed this year because my ‘family’ parmo was not very big and I am a big man with big appetite so I need to find the best parmo quickly before I go home and if you have suggestions I am happy to try more than one!”

Along with his former team mate and good friend James Thomson, who is the current Chairman and Head Coach of Teesside Lions, the pair are planning to extend their working relationship into the world of business with the launch of a luxury Vicuña range which will be based from Teesside, called Vicuña Retail.

Vicuña is regarded as one of the rarest, finest and most expensive fibres in the world and hails from a small member of the camel family that live in the high altitudes of the Andes mountain range in Argentina. A small cardigan made of vicuña fibre can retail for upwards of £5,000 and is subject to strict shearing codes and certification, all of which are in place with Vicuña Retail.

Vicuña Retail will sell authentic traditional Items such as hats, scarves, ponchos and blankets which are hand made to order and produced by using traditional methods by local trades people, with skills passed down by generations.

Further information can be sourced via ‘Vicuna Retail’ on Twitter and Facebook while a website is also in development.

James Thomson is optimistic for the new venture, stating: “We have been working on this project for quite a while now. There has been a lot of groundwork and It is not something that can be rushed. Obviously it’s a premium luxury product that would be more commonly associated with London, Paris or Milan, but in the modern age of business, online retail and most importantly with our Vicuña contacts, there is no reason we can’t do our bit to put Teesside on the map.

“It is a small operation which will appeal to a target clientele, which makes it a very special and exciting project. We have a strong link with the farmers and manufacturers directly, which will allow us to present a quality handmade luxury product at a competitive price.”

Cacu and James will be delivering the basketball camps at the Acorn Centre in Acklam, Middlesbrough on 7, 9, 11, 14 & 16th of August with newcomers of any ability welcome to attend. The camps cost just £15 per day with a saving of £5 for two days and £10 for three days booked.

More details can be found at www.TeessideLions.com, via the Teesside Lions Facebook page or by calling 07795431869.

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