Insights from Master Chocolatier Marco Colzani, Cassago Brianza, Italy
Italian Perfection and Respect
Italians are born artisans who care deeply about making products that “have to be perfect,” and “respect the raw materials,” according to Marco Colzani, Founder of C-AMARO and of one of only three bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Italy, who also produces outstanding small batch nut spreads (Sicilian pistachio is #1 seller), fruit and vegetable jams, award-winning roasted coffee, smoothies, candies, and more.
Liquid Orange Marmalade! In tasting Marco’s products – I couldn’t agree more! His Arancia di Sicilia nectar, for example, is unlike any orange juice I ever tasted. It’s bursting with ripe Sicilian oranges and only clean, simple, pure ingredients. What makes it exceptional? For 20% of the oranges, he includes the entire fruit – skin, too. The result? It was almost like drinking liquid orange marmalade! Pure fantasy.
Marco’s Advice to Food Businesses Starting Out
- Start producing.
- Be very curious about raw materials and machines.
- Don’t be happy with mediocrity.
- Be willing to experiment. Try to make your own machines.
- When it’s good enough to be eaten as-is, don’t fuss with it and ruin it. But most importantly – have respect for the raw materials.
Insights as a Former Oenologist
Making chocolate is very similar to making wine. It’s all about respecting the ingredients while managing the acidity, fermentation, sugar, aroma and blend.
In wine, it’s 70% terroir, 30% genetic. In chocolate, it’s 50 / 50.
What is Perfection?
Marco sees his job as “respecting the different origins” and handling the terroir and genetics of each raw material.
Unlike most American chocolates, Marco’s do not contain soya lecithin or vanilla, and only use two ingredients:
1. Cocoa beans he imports, hand selects and roasts based on the seasonality, crop and country of origin, e.g. Peru, Cuba, Ecuador, Trinidad, San Mateo, Dominican Republic and Venezuela
2. Cane sugar – only for sweetness, not aroma, so he imports raw cane sugar with low molasses from Madgascar and South Africa
Marco made his own equipment.
He recommends “aging chocolate for 4 to 5 months instead of conching,” to allow the tannins to mature without oxidation
To order Marco’s incredible bean-to-bar chocolates in the US, as well as his outstandingly natural Pistachio Spread and Hazelnut Spreads (you’ll never eat Nutella again) – click here for Gustiamo’s items – and let me know what you think!
Big thanks to Beatrice Ughi of Gustiamo – Italy’s Best Foods – for connecting me with Italy’s Marco Colzani!