THE ORIGIN OF THE RAW MATERIALS
OUR PRODUCTION & SUPPLY CHAIN
THE ORIGIN OF THE RAW MATERIALS
We pride ourselves to produce chocolate starting from the raw material, the cocoa beans; this allows us to have complete control of the production chain.
During the year we receive various cocoa samples from all over the world. In an equipped laboratory, we analyze and taste the samples, in search of surprising and extraordinary aromas.
When we receive the cocoa, first of all, we proceed with the mechanical cleaning of the beans, which are separated from any extraneous body that could be found. The clean beans are passed into a roaster which works with hot air. The high temperature triggers a series of chemical transformations that break down and recompose the molecules, creating a unique aromatic profile. We balance time and temperature, for each type of cocoa and each harvest year to obtain the maximum enhancement of the aromatic potential of each specific origin. A quick de-bacterization in a steam- saturated chamber eliminates any microbial activity still present on the beans. The entire roasting system was designed with the support of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Turin.
The cocoa mass thus obtained is mixed with the other ingredients to become chocolate: sugar and cocoa butter for the dark chocolate; powdered milk for chocolate with milk; hazelnut paste for the Gianduja; in the case of white chocolate the cocoa mass is not present, but cocoa butter and sugar are mixed together and powdered milk. Refining is therefore carried out of the mixture of ingredients in 3 or 5 cylinder refining machines.
The refined powder is then subjected to high temperatures and continuous mixing in order to reduce the humidity present, eliminate unwanted aromas, enhance the favourable ones and obtain a perfect emulsion of the ingredients.
The chocolate is tempered and poured into moulds with the desired shape. Tempering ensures a stable crystallization of the cocoa butter, therefore a glossy appearance to the finished product.
Packaging is the last stage of the process before products are placed on the market and we make entirely by hand. This allows us to carry out final quality control, while adequate packaging helps the prolongation of the product’s conservation.
We have always selected the best raw materials for the production of high-quality chocolate.
Today the quality of a product is no longer determined exclusively from the taste buds, but also the living conditions of the people of the entire supply chain, from the packaging materials, from the management of the energy resources that have been used during its production and its transport.
The choice of our ingredients has always been the first step in the production of high-quality chocolate.
Attention to quality has always been one of the most significant aspects of our work. For this reason, we regularly analyse our raw materials and finished products.
Very year we carry out about 70 analyses with the support of external laboratories, and over 200 within our laboratory. In this way, we ensure the quality of the products and raw materials, both from a food safety point of view, and verify the achievement of the quality standards that we have set ourselves.
It is our main ingredient. In 2019 we purchased 0.001%1 of the cocoa produced in the world. However small the effect of our choices on a global scale may seem, the impact surely remains significant for the families and people who produced that cocoa.
The difficult economic and social conditions of cocoa-producing countries are due to several factors: the presence of old plantations often vulnerable to pests and diseases; the decrease in soil fertility; the lack of access to adequate income for farmers; the lack of correct knowledge on the application of fertilizers and good agricultural and environmental management practices; increased competition from other more productive and profitable crops. Furthermore, behind the processing of cocoa, there is often the exploitation of workers, most likely minors, and the fluctuation of the price of cocoa creates a constant state of vulnerability for farmers.
For this reason, we strongly believe that the recognition of a fair price, the guarantee of the purchase of the harvest, the support to the productions that follow an agronomic disciplinary in respect of the environment and biodiversity and guarantee the absence of child labour and the respect of ethical and honourable conditions for all workers, is fundamental for the sustainability and quality of life of all.
We have decided to face a path in which the well-being of all the protagonists of the supply chain is in the first place and that is why since December 2019 we have been relying on a single cocoa supplier, which identifies itself in an ethical governance model aimed at sustainability.
This corporate strategy model brings positive feedback to all stakeholders involved: from the producers, who are guaranteed a fair living and working condition, to the consumers, who will have the opportunity to purchase chocolate that does not only taste good but also sustainable from an economic, environmental and social point of view.
1 ICCO Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics, Vol. XLVI, No.2, Cocoa year 2019/20
The values underlying our cocoa selection:
The excellent quality of cocoa, with a unique aromatic profile, of certified origin.
We are constantly looking for unique aromas that know how to surprise us and our customers; while trying to maintain long-term relationships with the communities where cocoa comes from, we are always looking for new origins and varieties.
– FAIR PRICE
The recognition of a fair price to farmers is the essential basis for creating stable and long-term partnerships with communities. Through our brokers, we can guarantee an adequate price, higher than the one of the local market.
– A premium price for achieving quality and sustainability standards; this economic recognition allows communities to invest in their future.
– The promotion of agriculture based on diversification, capable of producing a more stable and greater income for farmers.
– Training and education to support farmers in agricultural practices and post-harvest transformation processes.
– The guarantee of the purchase of the entire harvest and the advance payment of part of it.
– CONSERVATION AND DEFENSE OF FORESTS
The large-scale expansion of cocoa cultivation has been one of the main causes of deforestation on a global scale. It is no longer possible to guarantee the future of the next generations regardless of sustainable forest management.
Our cocoa comes exclusively from plantations that guarantee:
– Agriforest cultivation: an agricultural system based on the diversification of crops that represents the ecological alternative to monoculture.
– Reforestation: through the restoration of natural resources to increase biodiversity.
– The absolute ban on cutting down the primary forest.
– Cultivation in harmony with the ecosystem of the territory.
– Alliance with local authorities for the protection of the indigenous natural heritage.
– DECENT WORKING CONDITIONS
– The International Labor Organization ILO (1) defines “child labour” as an activity that deprives minors of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and which seriously damages their physical and mental development.
– In our supply chain, we can guarantee the total absence of child labour and slavery.
– A necessary clarification: we recognize that in some countries children live on plantations with their families and participate in family work during their free time. In many of these countries, the support of children within the economy and family management is naturally part of the socio- economic context. Furthermore, when participation does not interfere with school attendance and does not in any way represent exposure to possible risk, we recognize the value of this presence, as it guarantees the transmission of the experience of cocoa cultivation between generations. In light of these considerations, it is very difficult to guarantee the total absence of minors on the plantations. The substantial difference between the two modes of involvement in the work is constantly monitored by our partners who regularly visit the plantations.
1 International Labour Organisation www.ilo.org
This business strategy model brings positive feedback to all stakeholders: from the producer, who is guaranteed an adequate living and working condition, to the consumer, who will have the opportunity to purchase chocolate that tastes good, but also sustainable from the point of economic, environmental and social view.
GOALS BY 2025:
WE STRIVE TO PURCHASE COCOA BUTTER AND COCOA POWDERS, DIRECTLY FROM THE COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN, IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE THE RECOGNITION OF ADDED VALUE TO THE PRODUCING COMMUNITIES.
Hazelnut is for us the second ingredient in order of importance: over 70% of our products contain hazelnuts, as in the best tradition of Turin chocolate. We only use the Tonda Gentile Trilobata Hazelnut, universally acknowledged as the best in the world and produced exclusively on the hills of the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato, according to the strict guidelines of the consortium for Protected Geographical Indication.
Since 1997 we have been buying all the hazelnuts directly from some producers based in the Langhe with whom we have collaborated for more than twenty years. This alliance is profitable for both parties: they are guaranteed to sell the entire production at a fair price and we are confident to have the best raw material. We believe that this is the best economic model: alliance, instead of competition, in search of the best synergies in respect of the territory, from an environmental, but also economic, social point of view.
Gianduja chocolate perfectly demonstrates how a winning idea that starts from the territory, will bring benefits back to the region itself in terms of wealth, notoriety, virtuous economies of scale. In support of the continuous quest for quality and excellence, we paid particular attention to the new denomination “Langhe”, recently introduced to support the excellence of an even smaller territory.
We use the support of an external sheller who holds the hazelnut shells and re-uses them as fuel for heating.
All further transformations take place in our laboratory: roasting, with times and temperatures calibrated according to the destination recipe, refining into paste or grain for the production of chocolate and the extraction of the precious hazelnut oil, the only vegetable fat, together with cocoa butter, used to make our creams spreadable.
MILK In our production we only use milk from farms in the Piedmontese Alpine chain, thanks to an important partnership started with Latterie Inalpi which guarantees us quality whole milk, coming from the provinces of Turin, Asti and Cuneo.
This allows us to use an excellent ingredient of our territory, contributing to the development of more sustainable farming practices.
Inalpi, just like us, is focused and involved in the issues of environmental and social sustainability. It guarantees that more than 50% of suppliers use efficient irrigation systems to combat water waste and soil erosion and use renewable energy.
In the breeding farms, they guarantee a very high level of animal welfare, as well as great attention to maintaining biodiversity, boasting the presence of 9 different breeds of cows, including some less widespread.
ALMONDS We consume a remarkable quantity of almonds for the production of pralines and bars, which we have always purchased directly from Sicilian farmers. The choice of an Italian product allows us to enhance and benefit from the national product over the widespread imported varieties, often more economically competitive. In this way, we support the Italian quality agricultural supply chain.
CITRUS FRUITS All the citrus fruits we acquire arrive from Sicily and are processed and candied for us by our friend and craftsman Corrado Assenza from Noto). For this ingredient, we have chosen in respect of the territory and the local artisan tradition, just as we do for all our raw materials.
PISTACHIOS Exclusively from Sicily, we buy directly from farmers, contributing to the agricultural enhancement of national products and benefitting from a high-quality product.
Every time we purchase raw materials, our goal is to research, choose and purchase excellent products, preferably local, in order to promote the grand Italian gastronomic heritage and enhance craftsmanship
SUGAR Since 2018 we have been purchasing exclusively sugar from beets sown, harvested and processed in Italy. The partnership with ItaliaZuccheri guarantees us the purchase of completely Italian raw materials, processed in compliance with the territory of agricultural practices and farmers. With this choice, we promote and support an important tradition of our territory, the Italian agricultural chain.