Turin tradition in the chocolate arts goes back to 1560, when Emanuel Philibert, to celebrate the transfer of the ducal capital from Chambery to Turin, symbolically served a cup of steaming hot chocolate to the city. A little more than a century later, the Royal Lady Giovanna Battista Nemours officially authorized public serving. This event was bound to turn Turin into the main Italian centre of the “food of the gods”.
The first artisans who worked in this profession invented new recipes and new forms to spread the art of chocolate in the territory. It is where the long tradition of chocolate masters began, which has led to Made in Italy delicacies being coveted all around the world.
ISSIMO caught-up with Alessandro Pradelli, who is at the helm of Peyrano, historic maîtres chocolatiers, and one of the most renowned names in the business. Originally founded in 1915 as a confectionery workshop, then transformed into a chocolate factory by Antonio Peyrano after the First World War, Peyrano began to regularly supply the Italian royal family in 1920, and that tradition continues to this day, with the production of over eighty varieties of assorted chocolates, bon bons, giandujotti and fruit jellies.
How does the Italian chocolate tradition differ from others?
Italian chocolate tradition goes way back to the early 1500s: Cristopher Columbus tasted chocolate in the “new world” and soon after we started importing cacao. By the late 1500s chocolate was regarded as a much-loved indulgence by the noble courts across the country – as well as Europe. Chocolate was consumed both as a hot drink as well as dark chocolates. The Italian chocolatiers created all sorts of products with cacao, and in the early 1800s, to react to a temporary shortage of cacao, they started mixing dark chocolate with “piedmontese” hazelnuts: the delicious “Gianduja” was invented and a whole new category was born.
How is Turin linked with Peyrano’s history?
Turin is deeply connected to Peyrano and vice versa. The company was born in Turin in 1915 and shortly after, in 1938, was awarded the coveted title of ‘Supplier to the Royal House of Savoy’. Peyrano served the most prestigious Turinese families and companies through the decades. Turin still is today at the heart of the company: our headquarters, the production laboratory and our first store are still today in the same exact block where we started more than a century ago: Corso Moncalieri 47. 100% of our chocolate is still produced in Turin, starting from the cocoa bean selection to the roasting processes, and so it will be for the decades to come.
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What is the company best known for?
Peyrano is known for its craftsmanship and the excellence it provides in both its products as well as its service. The company is also synonymous with innovation and has always pushed the boundaries of what chocolate is. Peyrano’s most famous products are both type of Giandujotto, the Romeo and Giulietta ®, the Grappini ® and the Alpino.
What is the creation process for a new kind of chocolates? Do you have Brainstorming sessions with your maître chocolatier?
Our process combines creative sessions with our maître chocolatier and artisans to imagine future pralines; we also actively listen to our customers and take into consideration their feedback.
We are actually going through a very productive creative time right now, re-imagining our historical pralines and bringing in two new brand categories. So watch this space!
How do you choose your hazelnuts, cocoa, milk and all the ingredients to make the best chocolates?
Throughout the decades, we have cultivated solid relationships with the best suppliers, which we continue to foster. We are very fortunate and these relationships give us access to the best ingredients. Nevertheless, we analyze internally every single batch of every single cocoa bean and hazelnut before starting the production process. We deeply believe this is the key to our success.
Another key to your success has been Peyrano’s innovative approach, and unique projects. Can you share any specific project you are fond of?
Peyrano always valued creativity and pioneered the concept of “collaborations” with other worlds, for example Art. Some of the fondest memories are from the late 1980s when Peyrano partnered with some of the most renowned and creative artists to design unique chocolate boxes: Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, David Palterer, Aldo Mondino, Riccardo Dalisi just to name a few. Those creative sessions are remembered as “unique” by some of our historic artisans.
Any new projects for the 2022? Are you planning some new chocolates?
2022 will be a transformational year for us. We have been diligently working on several projects for the last 18 months: in the spring we will introduce two new chocolate product lines – which we are very excited about! And in the autumn we will inaugurate the expansion of our very first store in Corso Moncalieri 47, Turin, which will have a deeply re-invented retail concept. We will be glad and honored to have the entire Issimo family to the inauguration!
Is there a romantic chocolate story you can share in the spirit of Valentine’s Day?
We are lucky enough to have accompanied countless love stories and surely the Romeo and Giulietta ® are the most popular Valentine’s Day pralines.
But there is another love story that is behind one of our most iconic product- the Grappini ®. In the early 1960s, one of the heirs of the Peyrano family fell in love with a woman who later became his wife. During her first visit to the factory, she gifted him a bottle of prestigious Grappa that was immediately used to create a new special chocolate. The result was so good that Peyrano started producing the Grappini ® soon after. These pralines are still produced to this day with the same grappa, the “Riserva Revel Chion”.