Enter the sweet world of Fabbri, Italy’s master maker of all-things sweet
From fashion to food, some Italian brands are simply iconic. Think of Borsalino and Superga, Sant’Eustachio and Verrigni. When it comes to desserts, though, one in particular stands out above the throng: Fabbri, Italy’s king of syrups, jams, and all-things pasticceria.
If you’ve ever been to Italy, chances are you’ve stumbled upon its blue and white jars, each one an elegant display of swirls and flowers. Even more likely is that you’ve tried its products. Fabbri’s fruit syrups, preserves, gelato bases and powdered foundations for sweets and frozen yoghurt are in fact the bread and butter of pastry chefs and baristas across the boot-shaped country, who use the delectable ingredients to create tantalising desserts and drinks.
Now, you can bring some of them into your home too, as a curated selection of Fabbri’s best is on ISSIMO.
Here’s all you need to know about the evergreen company.
A heritage carved in flavour
Picture this: the year is 1905, and in the heart of Italy’s culinary region, Emilia-Romagna, a small family-owned business called Fabbri begins its extraordinary voyage. Originally a wine cellar in Portomaggiore, in the province of Ferrara, the little shop was turned by owner Gennaro Fabbri into a producer and distributor of liqueurs. The sign outside read «Premiata Distilleria Liquori G. Fabbri», known today as “Fabbri 1905”. It was the beginning of a long entrepreneurial adventure.
In the span of a few years, the company flourished, opening its first Bologna plant in 1915 and, in the following decade, expanding into the production of delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic syrups. Fabbri’s iconic “Marena con frutto,” made with black cherries (amarene) was also introduced back then, the recipe of Gennaro’s wife Rachele. An icon was born.
Cherries in liquor and a range of jams were added in the 30s – jams were the only thing the company was allowed to produce during the war years – while in 1933 the company’s name was changed to “Ditta G. Fabbri di Aldo e Romeo Fabbri,” after Gennaro’s sons. Fabbri’s first semi-finished products for artisanal gelato also came onto the scene during that time, as did the family’s debut as the owner of Bar Centrale in Bologna, an elegant salon open 24 hours a day that became a reference point for the city’s tastemakers and had only Fabbri products on the menu – talking about pioneers in marketing.
Post-war world II, Fabbri’s next generation – Fabio and Giorgio, Gennaro Fabbri’s grandsons – took the helm, expanding the production of liquors and traditional items like Amarena Fabbri and its famous fruit syrups (now on ISSIMO!). More growth came in the 50s with the arrival of cremolati – semi-finished bases for Italian gelatos made with pastes of fruit and cream that, when mixed with milk or water, magically transformed into excellent, artisanal ice-cream. The company launched a fleet of travelling “gelato workshops” around the country to show off their latest creation, becoming synonymous with gelato and sealing its role as a master of all-things sweet.
More delights were launched in the following decades – dessert toppings, fruit concentrates for mixed drinks and new syrups – not just for bars and pastry chefs but regular households, too. Along the way, Fabbri became tightly intertwined with Italian’s pop culture, first appearing in one of the country’s most famous and beloved TV programmes, Carosello, and later trusting renowned film directors to shoot its ad campaigns.
But what most distinguished – and continues to – the company was perhaps the fact that, throughout the years, it remained a family-business.
“Fabbri is synonymous with family,” says Carlotta Fabbri, a fifth generation Fabbri who oversees the online side of the company’s sales and marketing. “Not just our family, which is still incredibly close and committed to the business, but the family at large made of our suppliers, employees, distributors and consumers, too. We’ve been working with them and for them for decades and wouldn’t be here today without their contribution. It takes a village to achieve what we’ve achieved.”
The country has noticed too. To date, Fabbri has been awarded six historical trademarks as a brand of national interest, essentially becoming one of the Bel Paese’ most widely recognised ventures both locally and abroad.
“We’re obviously incredibly proud of those recognitions,” Carlotta says. “We owe it to the pioneering attitude of our great-great-grandfather, Gennaro, who had a truly revolutionary eye for business, but also to everyone who’s come after – his sons, grandchildren, and other members of my family, who have worked tirelessly to expand, grow, and introduce new products that could reach more people and open more horizons.”
“I like to say that Fabbri is still uniquely rooted in traditions – our vases with the classic Faenza ceramic patterns, the city of Bologna, our time-honoured recipes – while also looking always towards innovation,” she continues. “It’s a fine balance that’s taken us this far. And there’s still so much more we want to do.”
The foundations are certainly all there. From sumptuous fruit compotes that infuse pastries with bursts of natural sweetness to exquisite coffee syrups that elevate each cup to new heights, Fabbri equips culinary artisans – professional and non – with the tools they need to create masterpieces that tantalise the senses, without ever compromising quality or ingredients. That’s a legacy that’ll never go out of date.
Want to take your homemade desserts to the next level of deliciousness? Look no further than Fabbri syrups. These little bottles of liquid gold hold the key to transforming your sweet creations into mouth-watering masterpieces. So, grab your apron, channel your inner dessert guru, and get ready to create some magic.
First things first, pick your favourite flavour. Are you in the mood for a burst of strawberry goodness or a spicy ginger indulgence? The choice is yours, and with Fabbri’s wide range of products, there’s something to suit every sweet tooth.
Now, here’s where the fun begins. Imagine a stack of fluffy pancakes dripping with luscious Fabbri syrup. Or picture a velvety scoop of vanilla ice cream adorned with a generous drizzle of Fabbri compotes. Hungry yet? We thought so.
But Fabbri’s delights aren’t just for pouring over your desserts. Get creative! Use them as a secret ingredient in your cake batter, adding a surprising twist to every bite. Or mix them into your homemade whipped cream for a heavenly dollop of sweetness on top of your pies and pastries.
Feeling fancy? Create a Fabbri-infused cocktail or mocktail by blending your favourite syrup with sparkling water or spirits. It’s the perfect way to add a touch of sophistication to your gatherings.