Take the ancient art of baking, add sweet words, delicious photos, a new idea and a pinch of design. Mix with passion, then relish, nice and slowly. Sweet Journal is like a cake, hot from the oven, a totally irresistible temptation that, page after page, taste after taste, overwhelms you with the ingredients that make it unique. This trip into the world of sweetness just had to start with chocolate: the food with the power to reawaken and satisfy our most hidden desires. We travelled the length and breadth of Italy, from the Piedmont of Venchi to the Sicily of the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto; we knocked on the door of Antonino Cannavacciuolo’s star-winning kitchen and lifted the (pan) lid on Gnam Box, the web’s best-loved food bloggers. We “stole” the recipes of great master pastry chefs and met one who conquered the world with his cake. We flew out to the Island of Principe in Africa to seek the quintessence of cacao. Finally, we came home to tell you a tale of passion, sensuality, tradition and future. A tale dedicated to those who, like us, love to be seduced by the thousand different aspects of chocolate.
“We have been here for 91 years, history is our
cornerstone and chocolate our mission”,
says Fabrizio De Mauro, who, together with
his sister Carla, has taken over the reins of the
business started by his grandpa Aldo almost a century ago.
Initially under the Swiss brand name Zurich, it then became SAID (Società Anonima Industrie Dolciarie), the factory was completely destroyed in an air raid in 1943 and saw highs and lows through the years, without ever closing. Many traces can still be seen today of this history: the concept store, which has taken the place of the factory, is a masterpiece of industrial archaeology. The old machines (some of them still in use) are part of the furnishings, together with old tin moulds, glass jars, paper packaging and other vintage details. SAID is still a chocolate factory – behind the huge glass windows you can catch glimpses of the artisans at work –, but today it is also a meeting place for lovers of good food and a real feel of yesteryear. The company’s specialities include beef tartare with chocolate shavings, chocolate caponata, bruschettas with salmon and white chocolate and other dishes that play with unusual chocolate combos.
The main attraction here
is the dessert buffet,
a triumph of chocolates
and hundreds of other sweets.
Last year, SAID also opened in Soho (41 Broadwick Street), one of the liveliest districts in London, and new locations are in the pipeline for the future. With focus, as always, firmly on Italian style, tradition and artisan chocolate.
It was 1922 when Luisa Spagnoli, the wife of one of the founders of Perugina, invented a way to use the crumbs of hazelnut left over from the processing of other products: a whole hazelnut inside gianduja chocolate, covered with dark chocolate.
Its name, inspired by its uneven shape, was “Cazzotto” or punch, because it looked like the knuckles of a closed fist.
Not long after, it was Giovanni Buitoni who decided to call it a kiss or
“Bacio”: and, without realising, he created a legend. The romantic metamorphosis
was completed when Federico Seneca, artistic director at Perugina, inspired by
The Kiss by Hayez, created the iconic blue and silver box with its lovers and,
for the first time, the little slips of paper featuring the dulcet words of
poets and writers. Since then, alongside fashions and revolutions, the Bacio
Perugina has starred in millions of love stories.
All the Baci
in the world
Baci sold every year
Baci produced a minute
the weight of the Bacio that entered the Guinness Book
of Records as the biggest chocolate in the world,
2.15 metres high with a circumference of 7 metres
countries that import Baci
Oltre 18.000 chilometri
the paper used for the famous phrases of love
If lined up, the Baci Perugina
sold to date would reach right
around the world 10 times
Chocolate was still made at home in those days, on the “valata ra ciucculatti”, a slab of stone with a dip in it, also called the metate, slightly sloping and heated on a brazier, on which the ingredients were mixed using a stone cylinder. Today the itinerant “Ciucculattaro”, half artisan and half minstrel, no longer exists and 81-year-old Luigi Baglieri is the last testimony to this ancient craft that marked the destiny of the city, turning it into the promised land of chocolate.
In Modica there are over thirty chocolate producers, a Protection Consortium that is doing all it can to obtain IGP (protected geographical indication) and a small museum dedicated to the “food of the gods”.
Wandering through the city, you will be spoilt for choice by the celestial pleasures offered by artisan pastry shops, with a chance to taste, savour and even buy the odd souvenir. But the place to really discover all the secrets about Modica chocolate is the Dolceria Bonajuto chocolate shop, the oldest in Sicily, just a few square metres at number 159 Corso Umberto I. Every day for over one hundred years a small miracle has happened here: the transformation of sugar, cocoa and spices into a bar of chocolate famous worldwide. Bonajuto has a feel of past times. It is filled with ancient tools of the trade, period furniture, books and photos, all reminders of the shop’s founder, Francesco Bonajuto, who started the business in 1880, following in the footsteps of his father. Today it is in the hands of Pierpaolo Ruta, who in 1992, together with his father Franco, took up the reins of the enterprise with a mission:
“To perpetuate the family tradition and turn it into a competitive company on the market”.
Today the Dolceria Bonajuto
produces over ten tonnes of
chocolate every year
(against just 400 kg in 1992).
The history of the oldest
chocolate shop in Sicily
The history of the Dolceria Bonajuto is told in an essay that documents, with papers, anecdotes and testimonies, the stages that have brought this old shop its international success. The vicissitudes of the Bonajuto family are closely linked to the history of the city: a fascinating tale that brings back to life artisan traditions today almost forgotten.
The traditional vanilla and cinnamon flavoured bars with the same pink or red wrapping they had in the past, have been joined by sixteen spices associated with Sicily, such as chili pepper, lemon, cardamom, nutmeg and marjoram: , says Pierpaolo Ruta.
“They are fragrances that remind me of when I used to go to my grandparents’ house as a little boy”
At Bonajuto there is also room for bold experimenting, such as “Maris” chocolates with nori seaweed and fish roe, a tribute to the Japanese market.
The Grand Duke
The Dolceria Bonajuto has resuscitated an ancient seventeenth-century recipe created for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de’ Medici by the doctor and erudite Francesco Redi: jasmine chocolate.
“Take 10 pounds of roasted, cleaned and roughly squeezed cacao. Enough fresh jasmine to mix with said cacao, placing it in layers in a box or other container, leaving it for 24 hours and then taking it out and putting the same amount again of jasmine into this cacao mixture, layering it as before, repeating with fresh jasmine every 24 hours, ten or twelve times. Then take 8 pounds of good dry white sugar. III ounces of perfect vanilla and VI ounces of perfect cinnamon. II scrupoli of ambergris (1 scrupolo was 1 gram) and make the chocolate according to the chocolatier’s art; making sure that the stone is not too warm; but that the chocolatier works it and does not use more than four or five lbs at a time because if the stone heats up too much, the chocolate loses its aroma”.
in "The Exotic Brew: The Art of Living in the Age of Enlightenment" by Piero Camporesi
But tradition is still the guideline for this chocolate
shop and many ancient recipes have been dusted off and resuscitated,
like the one created for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de’
Medici by Francesco Redi in 1600, a long-forgotten delight: jasmine chocolate.
Another must-taste are ‘mpanatigghi, sweets of Spanish origin
filled with chocolate, almond paste and minced meat, which used to
be kneaded by the cloistered nuns in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries as sustenance for travellers setting out on their journeys.
The Dolceria Bonajuto exports chocolate to Europe, America, Japan and Australia, but around 70% of production is still destined for the Italian and local market.
The shop in Corso Umberto I is besieged by tens of thousands of people every year (over 25000 visitors in August 2014 alone), who queue up in front of the wooden counter waiting to taste chocolate from yesteryear: just cacao, sugar and spices.
The same chocolate that the Aztecs used to work on the metate, brought to Europe by the Spanish conquistadores and which arrived in the County of Modica in 1700, a refined delicacy reserved for the nobility. The chocolate of Luigi Baglieri and the itinerant “ciucculattari”, cold processed (never more than 45°C) to maintain all its aroma unaltered, unique in its intense flavour and rough consistency, the sugar grains crunchy to the bite.
The chocolate loved by Leonardo Sciascia, who used to stock up on bars from the Dolceria Bonajuto and, in the book “La Contea di Modica”, celebrated its “unparalleled flavour, so that those who taste it feel they have discovered the archetype, the absolute and that chocolate produced elsewhere, even the most celebrated, is an adulterated, corrupted version of this one”.
When we talk about Modica chocolate, tradition is important, but it is not everything. It may well happen, purely by chance, that a person from Veneto, in love with Sicily, with a financial background, decides one day to move to Modica and revolutionise the culture of chocolate.
And it may also happen that his company, Sabadì, in just three years becomes one of the most successful businesses in the city, exporting to over twenty countries and winning, for three years running (from 2012 to 2014), the Tavoletta d’oro award as the best chocolate in Modica. This is the tale of Simone Sabaini, who was born in 1974 in Isola della Scala, a tiny town in the province of Verona.
“I worked for an investment fund earning big money but a very poor quality of life. At the age of thirty I decided to change: an experience in the strategic management of Altromercato brought me into contact with the South American sugar and cacao production chains. That gave me my idea”.
In 2008 Simone moved to Modica and for two years worked in a cooperative, studying chocolate and getting ready to take his big step. In 2011 he opened Sabadì and soon after he obtained organic certification: success was immediate. “I have always been convinced of the quality of Modica chocolate”, he explains, “but I have created a new production process to solve what I saw as a defect of this product: if it is not consumed fresh, Modica chocolate loses its original characteristics. The cocoa butter creates a white bloom on the surface, the chocolate crumbles easily and its original aroma changes”. The problem can be solved by lowering the production temperature:
“I work my chocolate at 30°C instead of 45°C and for longer. In this way it keeps all its characteristics unaltered and can be stored much longer, staying glossy and compact”.
Simone Sabaini was won over by the Sicilian fragrances and what he calls “slow living”, yet has never lost that entrepreneurial slant that is so typical of the north east of Italy. In his laboratory in Modica Sorda, a residential district just outside the old city, he studies the doses for his chocolate with “maniacal precision”, selects the best ingredients one by one and designs new machines that guarantee the highest levels of perfection.
“I am obsessed by quality”
All the raw materials, from the cacao, a Nacional fifon de aroma ASS, to the sugar, citrus fruits and spices, have organic certification, are backed by slow food presidia and fair trade and are imported directly from the producer”. Sabadì chocolate also stands out for its design packaging, conceived by a firm in Verona: a character with its own style, character and story has been designed for each bar.
And so Sabadì has conquered the global market: chocolate produced in Modica is sold in top gourmet stores, from Eataly to the Chocolate Library in Selfridges, from five-star hotels to bio-stores all over the world. Sabaini has a widespread network of sales agents, but does not have a sales point in Modica, where he receives by appointment only. This was not a decision made lightly, it is the outcome of a precise strategy: “I was not interested in competing with local producers, who mainly sell in the city. My product is destined for a very discerning, international target”. And the figures have proved him right:
“In 2013 we produced 200,000 bars, in 2014 this number will rise to 350,000”.
Food Chocolate Design is a project set up in 2013 that links Sabadì chocolate to the Italian excellences of food and design. Sabaini has come up with eight unusual combinations made from the same number of artisan products, which range from cheese to rice, beer to pizza. These bold associations have been reworked by eight brilliant food bloggers, giving rise to sixteen recipes. Finally, sixteen Italian graphic designers have translated the new dishes into pictures.
The result is the “Food Chocolate Design” book, an exhibition and the idea of turning this project into a biennial event.
In addition to traditional Modica chocolate in eight different flavours, from late-ripening mandarin peel from Ciaculli to Sarawak white pepper, Sabadì has created, together with Ferrara University, the “Quality of life” line, inspired by a fundamental principle: chocolate is good for you. There are six bars in the range, all with evocative names, made from ingredients selected to enhance the beneficial properties of chocolate: Optimism, Youth, Sex, Sloth, Health and Beauty.
Innovation is an outstanding feature of all Sabadì products, like its hot chocolate, plain or flavoured, made by dissolving a piece of chocolate directly in hot milk (goodbye “powders”).
In Modica, Simone Sabaini has created a world that is half real and half imaginary, encapsulated in the word Sabadì, which he explains like this: “It is the day that perhaps does not exist, when we try to take time out to enjoy the little things”.
— Find out
To savour even the smallest details of Modica, you need to lose yourself in its old city centre, wander through its alleyways with your eyes pointed skyward and all five senses on alert. In this city, a UNESCO world heritage site that is so similar to a nativity scene, baroque architecture dominates. Visitor’s eyes cannot help but be drawn to the two splendid churches that are the symbol of the “city of the hundred churches”: the cathedral of Saint George, in Modica Alta, and the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Modica Bassa. The honour of being the Patron Saint of this city has in fact always been contested between Saint George and Saint Peter, with “sangiuggiari” and “sampittrari”, lifelong enemies, each faction championing its own district.
La Casa del Fotografo (The Photographer’s House) is the ideal starting point for exploring Modica. Situated in Vico Giallongo, at the foot of the steps leading up to the cathedral of Saint George, it is a private place, furnished with style, which tells the tale of the city in photos taken by its first owner. Those who prefer life in countryside will fall in love with the Casa dell’Artista (The Artist’s House), a farmhouse from the thirties surrounded by olive and carob trees. Inside, the rooms are a mix of period furniture and design pieces with high ceilings of exposed beams and stone; the pool is surrounded by vegetation, prickly pears and dry-stone walls and on summer nights, the courtyard is steeped in typical Sicilian fragrances. Info and bookings: www.thatsamoreitalia.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
The palate is another way to discover Modica and chocolate is not the only delight available for tasting in this city. The trick to not missing anything? Explore Modica’s “street food” specialities in its bakers’, delicatessens and gourmet pastry shops. The scaccia is a crisp puff pastry, folded in half and filled: the most classic are the white version, with parsley and sausage and the red one, with tomato and onion. Where: Antichi Sapori delicatessen (2, Corso Vittorio Emanuele). The cucca is a wheel of bread dough filled with pieces of caciocavallo cheese from Ragusa. For a delicious afternoon snack. Where: F.lli Modica baker’s (245, Corso Umberto I). Pastieri are parcels of bread dough filled with minced meat: a divine classic from Modica cuisine. Where: Alexander (19/F, Via della Resistenza Partigiana). Water ice and brioche: cool and sweet, water ices are the Sicilian breakfast food par excellence. One must-try is mulberry flavour and ricotta with coffee foam, shavings of Modica chocolate and pistachios. Where: Rosy Bar (4/b, Via Risorgimento).
Forget all you thought you knew about cacao:
here, and only here, the chocolate tastes
of the freshly harvested fruits.
It is almost evening, Claudio Corallo is sitting on the top
of the hill after a day spent in his cacao plantation.
He is listening to the parrots singing and watching the sea that surrounds
Principe, 125 square kilometres of land off the western coast of Africa, the
island where he produces the purest chocolate in the world.
With 40 years’ experience in the production of coffee and cacao in Africa and Bolivia, Claudio Corallo still has his Tuscan accent and the irony typical of his homeland. His life has all the appeal of an exotic adventure: after specialising in tropical agronomy in Florence, at the age of 23 he set off for Zaire to live on the coffee plantations in the middle of the forest, 1650 kilometres by river from the nearest civilisation. In the early nineties, he became interested in cacao: “I had never liked chocolate, all the varieties I had ever tasted had an underlying bitterness to them”. Convinced that this bitter note was a defect and not a natural quality, in 1992, Corallo set up a laboratory to carry out experiments with all the different stages in cacao processing. It took him five years of trial and error to find the formula for perfect chocolate.
The secret lies in the great quality of
the work, constant attention and knowing
how to do things right.
The terroir, microclimate, variety of the plant - these are all important factors. But it is how you do things that makes the difference”.
Today Claudio Corallo is considered a chocolate guru. His business employs 300 people (mainly locals) on São Tomé and Principe, the only island where the cacao that grows on the plant is made into chocolate bars exported worldwide.
In the Terreiro Velho plantation they grow plants that are the direct descendants of the first species of cacao that came to Brazil in about 1819. Pruning, harvesting, fermenting, drying, roasting, extracting the beans from the pods - all these operations are carried out by hand, with attention paid to every single detail, even the smallest.
Corallo spends much of his day in the plantation with his farmers: “If you are not perfectly in tune with the people and the environment where you work, you will never achieve quality: everyone here is enthusiastic about their job and we are learning all the time”. The result is a chocolate that has the aroma of its land and the freshly harvested fruits. His favourite?
“It varies: the cheekiest is Ubric, with soaked raisins added to the distilled cacao pulp”
Another one to try is the 73 and a half per cent chocolate with pieces of cacao bean, “which everyone likes” and the 70 per cent with fleur de sel and pepper grown on the island.
Where to find
This is where you can taste Claudio Corallo’s chocolate without having to fly out to the Island of Principe.
In Italy, the United States, the Czech Republic and France, you can contact local distributors.
Velier is the distributor for Italy
In other countries, the chocolate can be ordered on line from the Claudio Corallo website: WWW.CLAUDIOCORALLO.COM
What memories do you have of your early experiences in the kitchen?
My first experiences in the kitchen taught me that you cannot do this job if you are not driven by a huge passion. Beyond the commitment and dedication it deserves, working in a kitchen means you have to make serious effort and sacrifices in your personal life.
What was the first dish you invented?
I don’t think there was a real “first dish”. For me creating in the kitchen is simply the expression of emotions. Right from the start, from my early years at hotel and catering school, I tried to combine ingredients and flavours that excited me.
Who are your role models, in cooking and in life?
My life models are my parents and my family. And in cooking, all those I have been lucky enough to meet and measure myself against, for better or worse.
Have the two Michelin stars changed your life?
They were a huge satisfaction and, like all awards, the result of hard work and a deep love for cooking.
“deep love for cooking”
Let’s talk about baking: what role do you think it plays in Italian cuisine today?
An important role, one that represents our food and wine tradition.
How important are desserts when putting together the Villa Crespi menu?
Essentially, like all the courses on a menu, they must provide the perfect destination to a journey.
Campania and Piedmont, your lands of birth and adoption - both have an important tradition of cakes and desserts. Can you tell us about them?
That's not easy to do, they are two such different regions… All I can remember is that I have always loved sweet things, even as a very little boy, both our traditional ones in Campania and also more "Italian" ones. The “Pastiera Napoletana” is still one of my favourite cakes and I make sure it is included every day in the Villa Crespi breakfast buffet.
Veils of crisp chocolate, gianduja, cornflakes,
hazelnut praline mousse and dark chocolate mousse,
soft chocolate sponge and, as the final touch,
a chocolate glaze so smooth and glossy it is mirror-like.
These seven ingredients, skilfully combined, encapsulate the secret of one of the most famous chocolate cakes from Italian cuisine: the Setteveli, or Seven Veils, cake.
Like any self-respecting masterpiece, over the years, the Setteveli has fuelled its own stories and legends. Some think, wrongly, that it is a Sicilian recipe, only a few actually know that it won a world title, and hardly any are aware of the inspiration behind its name. To find out the real story behind this masterpiece of sweet delight, we travelled to the foot of the Dolomites, in Tai di Cadore, to the kitchens of Cristian Beduschi, who, together with Luigi Biasetto and Luca Mannori, invented the Setteveli and won the Pastry World Cup in Lyon in 1997. “That year, the Italian’s team's theme was interpreting women", Beduschi tells us, "a metaphor of sweetness, seduction and boldness: this is why we called our cake Seven Veils, in honour of the dance performed by Salome".
A work of art, that is what you think when you taste it. But Beduschi does not agree: “Art is what Michelangelo did. Whereas chocolate requires knowledge of the basics, experience counts for more than the artistic aspect”.
Cristian Beduschi describes himself as a
“old school” pastry chef. He is an artisan who
has dedicated his life to his greatest passion,
chocolate, which he discovered at the age of fourteen
in his parents’ pastry shop in Cortina D’Ampezzo.
“Since then, I have striven for continual improvement”. First his apprenticeship in Italy and the United States, with specialisation schools and international competitions, then opening of his two pastry shops in Cortina, a must-visit for those on holiday in this resort, called the Pearl of the Dolomites. In 1997 his career was crowned by the world title and in 2006 came a new start with the launch of a line of chocolate bars, now exported worldwide, from London (where they are sold in the Chocolate Library in Selfridges) to Hong Kong.
Today Cristian Beduschi is gearing up to face a new world challenge, this time in the role of trainer: he will be in charge of the Italian team at the upcoming pastry, ice cream and chocolate world championships, to be held in October 2015 in Milan during the Expo. What has changed over these 17 years?
“The standard of pastry making has shot up, thanks to new technologies and continual research in the sector”.
Competing against pastry chefs from all over the world, the Italian team will attempt to win back their title: “We Italians are full of imagination, this is our something extra”, reveals Beduschi. Training has already started, but the recipes are top secret.
at the Central Market
“In Food We Trust” is the first book by Gnam Box, published in April 2014. In it, Stefano and Riccardo explain over 150 unusual recipes using seasonal ingredients in typical Gnam Box style: off the cuff, extravagant and to suit all tastes.
yet no frills
You are considered to be the most chic food writer in Italian cuisine. Who are your style models?
I like female models of understated, never showy elegance - Marella Agnelli, Jacqueline Kennedy just to mention two ladies from the past. Intellectual depth helps aesthetic beauty, because it stops it from being empty. The new Mrs. Clooney is a good example…
Where does your passion for cooking come from?
I think it has always been inside me, because I spent the first fifteen years of my life in a matriarchal family where everything happened in the kitchen, from homework to sewing. Then, at a certain point, aged 25, I started to find my own feet. This was when I furnished my first home as a lady of the house and started inviting other people into my home. The start of my “entertaining”.
What is more important at the hob - creativity or precision?
Organisation is important. Precision is important when baking, but not essential when cooking. I like to see creativity as a source of inspiration and a desire to never stop, more than as an extreme search for something new. For home cooking this is not always necessary…
What must never be missing from your table?
The light of a candle (or several even).
Let’s talk about baking: how important is dessert for the success of a dinner?
My pastry chef in Paris used to say merely the sight of a dessert is enough to make that feeling of fullness pass for a diner who has declared himself full. I think it is a fundamental part of any meal, formal closure even, a moment for further relaxation and sharing.
What is your favourite dessert and why?
In Italy I have earned the nickname “the Pavlova lady” and this New Zealand dessert made with meringue and fruit really was my trademark at the start of my career. After me, after I made it for the first time in 2004 (in my book “La mia cucina in città” My kitchen in the city) everyone copied it. I take it as a compliment. I love it for its history (it was created for the love of a Russian ballerina) and for its delicate embracing texture. You do however need to know how to make a meringue that is crisp to the point of perfection.
Chocolate is an ingredient loved by everyone. How do you use it in the kitchen?
I like to keep it for sweet dishes, I don’t use it in savoury recipes. Recently someone wrote on my blog that I am making too many desserts with chocolate in them. Perhaps there is a reason…
A recipe of yours that stars chocolate?
I recently perfected a recipe for German bundt cake made with bitter chocolate. It is definitely sexy - its glossy shape, dark moist slices, a spoonful of custard or whipped cream together with a raspberry or two. And it’s really only sugar, butter, eggs, cocoa powder and flour mixed together, with a hint of vanilla. But - as we all know - baking is magic in its pure state, the outcome is simply divine.
Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I would like to take a sabbatical year - but now is not the moment. I’m actually working on a new TV format for 2015 and also completing a book due to come out just before Christmas. Entitled “Chocolate”. See?
The sexy side
“Cioccolato” is the latest book by Csaba dalla Zorza, in bookshops in December: 57 sweet recipes that enhance “the sensual part of chocolate”.
Divided into five chapters, one for each occasion, it comes exactly one year after “Tea time”, Csaba’s guide to the tea ritual.
Until June, thirteen Italian restaurants in Paris, will be taking it in turns to offer their customers a typical traditional Italian dessert, completely free. The buzzword is originality: absolutely no tiramisu or panna cotta. There’s more to Italian desserts than just “tiramisu où panna cotta”, so operation “Dolce: à la découverte du dessert italien” has been set up to introduce the French to the extraordinary variety of Italian puddings. Until June, every month, an Italian restaurant in Paris will be offering its diners a traditional Italian dessert - free of charge.
In December it will be the turn of the Sicilian
restaurant La trottinette (23 Rue de la Fontaine au Roi),
giving Parisians a chance to taste original Sicilian cassata.
To savour these free desserts all you have to do is show a
coupon that can be downloaded from the site L’Italie à Paris
(for info: email@example.com).
The “Dolce” project was conceived by Stefano Palombari, creator of the L’Italie à Paris site and Domenico Biscardi, co-founder of the Club Criollo (an Italo-French club for chocoholics), to finally do justice to the sweeter side of Italian cuisine.
The world pastry and cake design championships, organised by the International Federation of Pastry,
Ice Cream and Chocolate, will be held from 24 to 27 October 2015 at Host Fiera Milano Rho.
The young pastry chefs on the two Italian teams are already in training with a single goal in mind: winning.
Young and fiercely competitive: the youngsters on the Italian teams taking part in the world pastry and cake design championships next October, will be competing with teams from other countries to become world champions. Organised by the International Federation of Pastry Ice Cream Chocolate (the FIPGC), the championships will be held at Host Fiera Milano Rho, from 24 to 27 October, at the end of the Universal Exposition, which is sponsoring the event. The youngsters on the Italian teams all come from different backgrounds, but have a lot in common as all four joined the world of pâtisserie at a very young age and have cultivated their passion to reach maximum levels.
31 years of age, comes from Omegna, a small town in the province of Verbania. He has collaborated with important names in Italy, Switzerland, Spain and India and is today one of the staff at Cristian Beduschi’s chocolate and ice cream shop at the Central Market in Florence.
born in Marseilles to Italian parents 23 years ago, became interested in the world of baking at the age of 15: today he is a consultant for top-level schools throughout Europe and he has already won a great many awards in France.
How did your love for baking start?
D. Mascia - I would say by chance. Once I finished school I enrolled at the professional bread and cake making school close to home: this is where my passion and love for this fabulous job started.
P. Occhipinti - My dream was to study the fine arts, but after watching my grandma make tiramisu I logically chose baking!
A.Bondì - I have loved baking since I was little in the family laboratory, where I began to learn the basics in baking.
S. Sardone - The world of cakes and desserts has been mine since I was little, my parents have had a cake shop for thirty years. I learnt a lot from my baker father, then I decided I wanted to combine tasty food with beauty and I started my career in cake design.
What is your speciality in the kitchen?
D. Mascia - I really don’t know how to answer this question, I like doing everything!
P. Occhipinti - I worked with a master chocolatier for a long time, so my specialities are chocolates and French confectionery.
A.Bondì - I always try to rework classic recipes, like, for example, pistachio cake, giving them different structures and flavours. The ace up my sleeve is however the visible, decorative part of a cake, which allowed me to pass the selection process for the world cup.
S. Sardone - In my laboratory I work on everything, but my favourite part is decorating cakes and desserts of any kind, from semifreddo to structured cakes for any special occasion.
And your favourite cake?
D. Mascia - The Saint-Honoré.
P. Occhipinti - My Sardinian grandma’s tiramisu.
A.Bondì - The raffiellino, a traditional cake from my town made with almonds and pistachios.
S. Sardone - My personal taste is classic, traditional cakes are therefore my favourites.
How are you preparing for the world championships in 2015?
D. Mascia - Once you have decided on the right line to follow, there is only one thing to do: try, try and try again, because the most complicated part of the competition is not the day of the competition itself, but the training.
P. Occhipinti - Training for the world championships is an almost daily thing. For now we are working on tasting, then we will move on to the artistic aspect. What’s important is that we have a group vision and a strong link between our work.
A.Bondì - I am practising individual ice cream portion tasting. When I reach maximum level, then I’ll dedicate my time to sculptures in pastillage.
S. Sardone - I am imagining the project we will present; I have lots of ideas but it is not easy to choose the right one. This responsibility means I have to analyse as many techniques as possible!
What is the strong point of the Italian teams?
D. Mascia - Italy’s strong point is definitely the high quality of our products and clever combination of flavours, which give us that extra something that lots of other countries don’t have.
P. Occhipinti - A mix of exceptional Italian products (Made in Italy), our team of youngsters, coaching by the Federation and lots of work. We will do everything to help Italy win this world championship!
A.Bondì - Our strong point is our teamwork, we help each other and, above all, we really want to win.
S. Sardone - At the world championships I will have the support of my coach and the entire Federation. The strong point is my modelling, which together with other techniques and lots of imagination will allow me to do a good job.
The Italian pastry, chocolate and ice cream team is headed by
team managers Cristian Beduschi and Rossano Vinciarelli,
internationally famous pastry chefs.
The cake design team will have Christian
Giardina as its mentor, one of the top
professionals in the sector.
Sweet Journal will follow training progress, giving you a
blow by blow account of these young pastry chefs’ journey to victory
in the world championships.
Founded in 2011, fuelled by the enthusiasm of Simona Miramare and Lorenzo Renzetti, the Professional Pastry & Cake Design School organises courses in baking, cake design and sugar art, for professionals and amateurs. In just over three years, three Sweetest schools have opened (in Abruzzo, Puglia and Lombardy), training up over 300 pastry chefs-cake designers and gaining the title of the Italian school with the most medals.
The next diary date is 15 December with the “Master modelling cake design”, an intensive eight-hour course for those who already have experience with sugar paste and want to learn more about the techniques involved in recreating facial expressions.
From 19 to 30 January 2015, the appointment is for professionals at the Sweetest school, with the instructors from the Federation holding the twentieth Pastry Chefs and Cake Designers course, teaching all the techniques and secrets of sugar paste.
A good chocolate ice cream is not the same in every country. Each place has its own traditions that must be respected: Donata Panciera, master ice cream maker with over thirty years' international experience, reveals her secrets and her recipes for the perfect ice cream.
Donata Panciera comes from a family of ice cream makers in the Zoldo valley, who started their business in Vienna in the late nineteenth century. In 1985 she launched Italian ice cream in Japan and started to open a large number of ice cream shops in different countries around the world. Since the eighties, she has held ice cream courses in Italy and in other countries and in 2000 she received European Certification as a "Master teacher of ice-cream making". As a freelance journalist she has published many books on ice cream .
The first rule for a good chocolate ice cream is to use excellent quality cocoa, with 22 to 24% cocoa butter. It is better to avoid non-fat cocoa (10-12% cocoa butter), which contains more powder (especially insoluble polysaccharides) and less fat. Before making your ice cream however, you need to understand what the consumer wants. Expectations differ depending on the geographic area, in fact. In countries in the north of Europe, they prefer chocolate ice cream with delicate flavours and colours. Whereas in Italy, our customers like a product with a richer flavour, especially in the south, where “cocoa sorbet" is also popular. What’s more, for a few decades now, Italian consumers have been convinced that the "darker chocolate ice cream is, the better". There is no truth in this: cocoa is a reddish colour in origin, but if during processing of the beans you increase the quantity of potassium, a mineral they contain naturally, a chemical reaction occurs (from slightly acidic the pH turns slightly basic) and this alters both colour and flavour. This is why ice cream makers in Italy today prefer to use “potassium rich" cocoa. In other words there is not just one chocolate ice cream and during an advanced ice cream course you might make over fifteen innovative variants of chocolate ice cream. This leads to the “festival of chocolate ice cream” organised periodically in ice cream shops and always hugely successful.
By Donata Panciera
First of all, make a chocolate cream, using cocoa powder
containing from 22 to 24% butter, simple to make but with very
good results. You must however use a planetary mixer (if possible
with a 20-litre bowl, to make at least 10kg of product).
Ingredients (for 1kg of cocoa cream)
150 g granulated sugar (sucrose)
150 g dextrose
300 g cocoa powder
400 g water
Making the cream
Put the water and the sugars into a pan and bring to the boil, only stirring very quickly right at the end (do not leave the syrup to boil for too long or the water will evaporate).
In the meantime, weigh the cocoa into a bowl and as soon as the syrup is ready, pour it into the bowl of the planetary mixer, followed immediately by the cocoa. At this point, start the mixer on slow to let the cocoa absorb the water for a few seconds, then turn it up to maximum speed until the cream has almost completely cooled (about 15 minutes).
This will give a velvety smooth cream, with the fats perfectly homogenised and the solids, taken to more than 90°C, releasing the over 500 aromas they contain.
The cream can be stored in a sealed container and refrigerated at +4°C for seven days.
Making the chocolate ice cream
To make the chocolate ice cream, mix part of the chocolate cream into a white base (or white base and yellow base) using the following proportions.
For chocolate ice cream in Germany or up in the Triveneto regions in Italy: add 170g of cocoa cream to 830g of white base (or white and yellow base).
For other regions in Italy you can add 180g of cocoa cream to the base/s (820g).
In exceptional cases, especially for regions in the south of Italy, you can add up to 20% cocoa cream to 80% white base.
This makes an ice cream with excellent flavour and a refined, very velvety smooth structure. Try it and see!
“Italian Artisanal Gelato According to Donata Panciera”, published in 2013 in Italian, Spanish and English, contains 130 recipes for professionals.
The preparation technique, explained simply and methodically, considers the products and the tastes of the ice cream maker’s location, for perfect ice cream anywhere in the world.
The cacao plant (Theobroma cacao L.) is a perennial that grows in tropical zones,
especially in South America and Africa. The fruit is called a pod and it contains
the seeds, called beans, embedded in a white pulp.
The fruits ripen all year round and are harvested by hand every 3 to 4 weeks.
After harvesting, the pods are stored for a minimum of fifteen days: during which time the pulp ferments due to yeasts that, having consumed all the available oxygen, trigger off a fermentation metabolism that produces ethanol and carbon dioxide and consumes sugars. The pH increases and the temperature rises to about 50°C. At the same time, some of the alkaloids, such as the theobromine, caffeine and some polyphenols are eliminated with the juices, which reduces the bitter, astringent component of the cacao. This is followed by drying, which makes the fermented beans storable, and then roasting, to develop their aroma and colour.
Fine grinding reduces the size of the solid particles of the beans and squeezes out the fat, called cocoa butter, which is then extracted using presses. The heat generated by this pressure melts the cocoa butter to give cacao paste, a thick brown liquid that solidifies as it cools. To make cacao powder, the panels from the press, which still contain a certain percentage of fat, are sent to an grinding machine.
Refining - Chocolate production starts with measuring and mixing of the basic ingredients: cacao powder and sugars. This is followed by refining to reduce the size of the non-fat solids, which achieves one of the quality parameters required for chocolate: a non-grainy texture in the mouth.
Conching - The next operation is conching, prolonged mixing of the mass in suitable temperature conditions, inside containers called conches. Temperatures used vary depending on the kind of chocolate being produced and this stage takes from 10 to 24 hours. This is when the cocoa butter is added, together with soy lecithin, flavourings and the other ingredients called for by the recipe. This operation alters the aromatic fraction, lowers acidity and humidity, uniforms colour and polyphenols in the mass and helps the cocoa butter to crystallise.
Tempering - After being extracted, the cocoa butter is centrifuged, filtered and deodorised. When added to the chocolate it makes it glossy and brilliant, ensuring it melts in the mouth and snaps cleanly when the chocolate bar is broken. Whereas the soy lecithin is added to chocolate to make it less viscous, more fluid and workable. When the product comes out of the conche it is cooled to 45°C and kept at this temperature until the next stage, tempering, when different temperatures are used to crystallise the cocoa butter. During this stage, the chocolate is heated to 34°C and then cooled to 27°C to stabilise the crystals formed.
Moulding - Now the chocolate can be sent to the moulding lines. Once filled, the moulds are subjected to vibration, then sent into the cooling tunnel. As they come out of the tunnel, the moulds are overturned onto a conveyor belt and the resulting bars sent to be packaged.
Chocolate must be stored in a cool dry place at a temperature of about 18°C, to stop the formation of bloom, which alters the surface and lowers the quality of the chocolate. The sugar blooms when chocolate is exposed to humidity and the evaporating water draws particles of sugar to the surface, leaving it rough and uneven. Whereas fat blooms when the chocolate is exposed to too high a temperature and the cocoa butter starts to melt, forming white marks on the surface of the bar. Despite the unpleasant appearance of this bloom, often confused with mould, it is not toxic: it does not alter the flavour and the chocolate can be eaten without any problem.
Text by Veronica Borello
How can you prolong the intense yet fleeting pleasure of a chocolate?
Gennaro Volpe has succeeded with his chocolate lollipops,
which just like the traditional version are perfect
for savouring slowly, a little at a time. Here is the recipe,
dedicated to professionals. To taste his original Ciupa Ciocc
lollipops you need to visit the Pasticceria Caffetteria Volpe in Naples,
which has lots of flavours to choose from.
Below are three of them just for you:
Ciupa in the Springtime
200 gr cream
20 gr orange blossom honey
300 gr Edelweiss couverture
n° 1 teaspoon of lavender
For the ganache: boil the cream, honey and lavender together. Filter and pour over the couverture. Emulsify.
Ciupa with Grand Marnier
290 gr cream
640 gr extra milk couverture
70 gr Grand Marnier
For the ganache: boil the cream and pour over the chocolate. Emulsify, then add the liqueur.
Ciupa with a hint of vinegar
200 gr cream
20 gr orange blossom honey
350 gr Edelweiss couverture
gr 40 balsamic vinegar
For the ganache: boil the cream with the honey, pour over the couverture and emulsify. Add the vinegar.
To make the Ciupa Ciocc: fill truffle moulds with the above ganache, making sure the temperature of the cream does not exceed 28 degrees.
Seal with tempered chocolate and push a lollipop stick into each one. Crystallise the chocolate and decorate as liked.
Pesto chocolates are one of the specialities at the Pasticceria Poldo
in Genoa. In this gourmet recipe, created by Chef Francesco Crocco,
dark chocolate meets basil from Pra’ to give a chocolate
that embraces all the aromas and flavours of Liguria.
400 g dark couverture chocolate
175 g fresh milk
100 gr basil leaves from Genoa – Pra’
Chop the chocolate finely and pound the basil leaves with a pestle and mortar.
Put the milk in a pan and bring to the boil, take off the heat and stir in the crushed basil leaves with a wooden spoon. Leave to infuse for about 3 hours.
Filter the milk through a sieve, bring back to the boil and add the chocolate, dissolving completely.
Put the pan back on the heat for a few minutes, without letting it boil. Turn off the heat, pour the mixture into a bowl and leave to cool.
Prepare the shell of chocolate in a mould shaped like a basil leaf. Fill with the basil ganache, seal the shell and leave to crystallise. Pesto chocolates must be stored at a temperature between 5 and 15°C and eaten within 36 hours.
This delicious dessert was created by Chef Roberto Lestani,
world master pastry champion, Olympic chocolate champion
and a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
As of this year, Lestani is also one of the judges on the RAI 1
Italian television programme “Dolci dopo il Tiggì”,
presented by Antonella Clerici. In this recipe, he explains how to
combine the intense flavour of bitter chocolate with the
exotic sweetness of mango.
with mango filling
Ingredients for the puddings
160 gr egg yolks
130 gr sugar
600 gr cream
800 gr dark chocolate 70%
100 gr butter
120 gr potato starch
Ingredients for the mango filling
280 gr mango purée
20 gr lemon juice
10 gr maltitol
10 gr sugar
15 gr corn starch
6 gr gelatine
For the mango filling – Heat the mango purée to 40°C together with the lemon juice and the maltitol and then add the corn starch, previously mixed with the sugar. Boil this mixture, add the gelatine, pour into moulds and freeze.
For the puddings - First of all, whisk the yolks with the sugar and boil the cream separately. Add the pieces of chocolate with the boiled cream and whisked yolks. Finally sieve in the potato starch and stir to give a smooth consistency.
Put the puddings together: Half fill buttered aluminium moulds with the pudding mixture, put a frozen mango filling into each one and cover with the remaining pudding mixture. Bake for 6 minutes at 180°C. Turn out the puddings onto plates and serve hot.
Pasticceria Giacomo has all the vintage appeal of those old Italian shops with just a hint of Parisian bakery. As you come through the door, you get the feeling you have entered a different period in time: the nineteenth-century painted flowers decorating walls and ceiling, the brass lamp, the geometric patterned floor, polished display cases - every single detail creates a refined, friendly feel. Giulia and Elena, Giacomo’s grand-daughters, have a look in their eyes that tells of the passion of those who grew up in a kitchen. They are the soul of this cake shop, the birthplace of delights like the double chocolate cake.
A tart with a dark chocolate ganache
on a slightly salty base and the “bomb”,
a delicious puff pastry filled
with mascarpone cream and wild
strawberries. Designed in 2007 by the
architects Roberto Peregalli and Laura
Sartori Rimini, Pasticceria Giacomo is a
welcoming feel-good shop brimming with
traditional sweet temptations.
Via Pasquale Sottocorno, 5, 20129 Milano
Contacts + 39 0276319147
RICETTE DI VITA (Recipes for life)
BOMPIANI, COLLANA PASSAGGI
It was 1958 when Giacomo Bulleri opened his first restaurant in Milan. Arriving from the Tuscan countryside, he became famous in the city for his traditional yet creative cuisine, the quality of his ingredients, genuine flavours. After 56 years, Giacomo is today one of the excellences of Milanese food and wine and, together with his daughter Tiziana and son-in-law Marco Monti manages three restaurants, a café, a cake shop and the new Tabaccheria, a food boutique due to open in a few weeks' time. His book “Ricette di vita”, literally recipes for life, tells the story of this great character from Italian cuisine in flavours and memories.
People come here to taste chöks, the shop’s speciality gourmet doughnuts in 32 different variants, hung up in rows for all to see on the walls. But they also come to take part in courses and tasting sessions and enjoy moments of culinary creativity, with unusual sweet and savoury flavour combos just waiting to be discovered every day. Chök looks a lot like the kitchen of our dreams: immaculate and welcoming, tidy yet unpredictable. Its interior design fuses contemporary minimalism with the liberty decor of the building, in a perfect balance of the two styles. Packaging focuses on immediacy: small square boxes with rounded corners, perfect for delicious takeaways. Black and white alternate throughout with refined simplicity.
Chök c/ del Carme 3, Barcelona - www.chokbarcelona.com
You grew up in Italy, but you have lived in Paris for twenty years. Can you explain to us the main difference between Italian and French baking?
Italian baking has always been considered more “homemade” than its French counterpart, and it is really.
You immediately think of afternoon snacks from our childhood. I did some research, reading Montanari (an Italian historian considered to be one of the maximum experts in the history of eating habits on an international level, -Ed.) and I discovered that the reasons behind this diversity are linked to the history of our two countries. Italy was for a long time divided into many different states, where the cities were like small capitals, closely linked to the surrounding countryside. Each area developed its own traditions with a certain degree of freedom. The recipes were handed down orally and preserved also thanks to monasteries. Whereas in France baking has always been the reflection of a strong central power and this is why it is more sumptuous, more spectacular and more classified.
What, in your opinion, is the cake or dessert that more than any other represents Italy abroad?
Tiramisu is our most emblematic sweet dish. It is very popular abroad because it is simple to make and the ingredients are easy to find.
Which is your favourite chocolate cake or dessert?
I love my chocolate and amaretti cake:
I melt chocolate with butter, whisk eggs with sugar, crumble in amaretti biscuits and cover it all with chocolate icing. It is a recipe I have been making for twenty years and it never lets me down.
What is your secret for perfect results when baking?
The choice of ingredients is important, but the indispensable condition for perfect results is to bake with love and passion, like a gift you want to share. This is why I make cakes and desserts only when I really want to!
“This is why
I make cakes and
desserts only when
I really want to!”
CHE PARADISO È SENZA CIOCCOLATO / What kind of paradise is it without chocolate
“The art of making cakes and desserts is a true act of love”: this is the philosophy of Ernst Knam, the famous "king of chocolate" from Real Time TV. Italian chocolate champion (2009-2010) and world ice cream champion (2012), Knam reveals his secrets as a maître chocolatier in his new recipe book. From cakes to mousses, from biscuits to the chocolates that have brought him fame, with a few tricks and lots of tips, the book explains over 60 creations starring just one main player, chocolate. (Available in Italian only)
Where chocolate is concerned, Ramon Morato is one of the top authorities on an international level. Director of Chocovic, the famous Spanish school, he has summarised years of experience in a monumental volume that explores every single aspect of the world of chocolate. The focal point of the book is its 230 chocolate-based recipes, for any time of day, from breakfast to a midnight snack. (Bilingual version English/Spanish)
IL PASTICCIERE DEL RE
Carlo Demirco is the pastry chef at Versailles, creator of the delights served at the court of Louis XIV: such as ice cream, a new invention that enchants the king, ladies-in-waiting and courtesans alike In 1670, Demirco is sent to London together with the beautiful Breton lady-in-waiting Louise de Kérouaille: their task is to lift the spirits of the Stuart King, Charles, grieving after his sister died in mysterious circumstances in Versailles. Their success will restore good relations between England and France once again. A fascinating historical novel featuring intrigue at court and old recipes.
Where chocolate is concerned, Ramon Morato is one of the top authorities on an international level. Director of Chocovic, the famous Spanish school, he has summarised years of experience in a monumental volume that explores every single aspect of the world of chocolate. The focal point of the book is its 230 chocolate-based recipes, for any time of day, from breakfast to a midnight snack. (Bilingual version English/Spanish)
LA SCIENZA DELLA PASTICCERIA
Get ready to say forget all your "grandma’s old hints and tips”: baking is an exact science, that must be studied and strictly applied. In this new book, the chemist Dario Bressanini reveals the most important physical and chemical processes at the base of the perfect cake and illustrates the structure and the properties of those ingredients indispensable for baking. Apply his formulas and you will never have another baking disaster again! (Available in Italian only)
COME SI FA IL CIOCCOLATO?
All children love chocolate, but only a few are lucky enough to have visited an artisan chocolatier’s laboratory or a chocolate factory like Willy Wonka's. This book uses simple words and mouth-watering illustrations to answer children’s questions and reveal all the secrets of their favourite sweet treat. Reading age: 6 (Available in Italian only)
The chocolate festival
the chocolate festival
The Chocolate Festival is the biggest festival in London entirely dedicated to chocolate. Running from 12 to 14 December at the Business Design Centre, it will be the venue for lots of the sweetest events: from the Chocolate Market with Britain’s top artisan chocolate companies, to cocoa beauty treatments at the "Cocoa Spa", from the “Health Zone" where visitors can try the many beneficial effects of the food of the gods to the “Christmas Zone”, with lots of gift ideas and a Christmas tree covered in chocolate decorations.
Los Angeles Chocolate Festival and Pastry Show
The world’s top chocolatiers, pastry chefs, food critics
and foodies will all meet up on 28 December in Los
Angeles for this big chocolate show. Haute pâtisserie
creations will feature alongside the best wines,
champagnes and liqueurs from all over the world.
The Festival is open to the public and all
proceeds will be donated to St. Jude Children's
Research Hospital & Rock Against Trafficking.
San Francisco International Chocolate Salon
On 15 March 2015, San Francisco will host the eighth
annual chocolate salon: a unique opportunity for
checking out the international excellences of
artisan chocolate. 55 square metres at Fort
Mason Center dedicated to chocolate, for a
whole day of tasting, demos, launches of new products,
games, meetings with authors and famous chefs,
unusual combos of chocolate, wine and other products.
THE WORLD TROPHY OF
PASTRY - ICE CREAM - CHOCOLATE
THE WORLD TROPHY OF
PASTRY - ICE CREAM - CHOCOLATE
Members of Team Italy:
Diego masciA, paul occhipinti,
Christian Beduschi, Rossano Vinciarelli
The mission of the International Federation of Pastry, Ice Cream
and Chocolate is to form a capillary network of all the businesses
in the sector on a national and international level (schools,
wholesalers, associations, businesses, etc.). Its objective is to
promote collaboration and support growth in the sector,
offering visibility to artisan companies and local products.
To this end, the Federation organises professional training
courses, events and fairs.
To subscribe to the International Federation of Pastry, Ice Cream
and Chocolate download the registration form and follow the
instructions on the website:
Subscribe to the
receive all the Sweet Journal updates