How it all Began
The year was 1990 as Cecilia Tessieri decided to embark on a wonderful adventure that led her to discover all the precious secrets of chocolate along with the support of her family. At the forefront was her grandmother, who’s undying support led to the inspiration behind the name of the chocolate, Amedei, her grandmother’s surname.
The venture was first initiated in a small laboratory, 45 square metres in size, and with just one employee to produce pralines. However, as the chocolate was purchased from others, the product did not reflect the ideals she had in mind, Cecilia reflects. As such realising that the key to true success would be the quality of the cocoa and the capacity to process it, Cecilia set about to explore the possibility of getting some ‘unique’ cocoa from the far reaches of Madagascar, Venezuela, Jamaica, Ecuador, Trinidad and Grenada or wherever the cultivated cocoa still had that aromatic character of the land it came from. Further following a long apprenticeship in France, Belgium and Germany, Cecilia was widely hailed as a maitre chocolatier, the first woman to take on such a role.
Antique machinery was hunted and obtained from all over Europe, some pieces dating back to the 1800s while yet others were from the period after the first world war. This made maintaining these machinery a delicate matter as they required continuous maintenance while spare parts didn’t even exist. However, soon a balance was reached with old and new machines working together, blending meticulously. As such, in 1998, the first chocolate bars with the brand name Amadei appeared in the market.
The year was 1990 as Cecilia Tessieri decided to embark on a wonderful adventure that led her to discover all the precious secrets of chocolate along with the support of her family.
The process of making the perfect chocolate
Amedei has won the award for the best chocolate ‘from bean to bar’ several times from the Chocolate Academy of London. Therefore, the journey of the cocoa from ‘bean to the bar’ is indeed a fascinating story.
First, hemp sacks containing cocoa beans arrive at the production facility in Pontedera, Italy after which the first phase includes ‘quality control’ where a sample is taken from each sack and analyzed for quality. A small amount is roasted and made into chocolate to see if the quality is suitable or if there is a necessity to change the sourced plantation. Once a batch is thus approved, roasting is done in a classic roaster using indirect heat and though one can smell the aroma at this stage only an expert can identify what the final taste will be like.
The journey of the cocoa from ‘bean to the bar’ is indeed a fascinating story
Next is the husking process where the beans are passed through a machine that uses jets of compressed air to separate the shell and the sediment from the internal nib or grain. Afterwards, the mixture is ground or broken up until it forms a solid mass, which is along with the ingredients are blended in an heating area and passed through refiners to obtain a very refined mixture. The conching process, which follows soon after and lasts nearly 72 hours (well above the minimum required by the industry), is the most important in obtaining a ‘chocolate of high quality’ as the chocolate is mixed constantly. During this process, the excess moisture and residual tannins are removed to gain a well rounded aroma and the end result is an extremely velvety chocolate.
One of the final steps is the tempering, which allow the crystallization of the cocoa butter within the liquid chocolate. During this step a chocolate that is suitable for moulding in every way is created where its sheen, crisp texture and preservation properties are considered to be perfect. As the concluding point of the whole process, the chocolate can now be poured into moulds or be used to make pralines and tartufi.
One bite and the taste hurls one through a journey, taking one step by step through the fields of cocoa cultivated with much attention and care. From the opening of the packaging to the tasting of the toothsome velvety texture each step is a treasure to be discovered and enjoyed. At first glance, the chocolate brings ‘silk’ to mind while when you break the bar, it snaps with a decisive and crisp sound attesting to the perfect crystallization of the cocoa butter. The first aroma that surround one’s senses is the sweetness and as one breathes deeper the aroma becomes more bitter and ‘cocoa like’—better described as intense in its passion and sensuality. The taste however invoke a more heartfelt emotion where one is assaulted with a range of tastes and enticing flavours. Even after one is done savouring the taste of the chocolate, the after taste still remains tingling one’s senses conveying a variety of flavours depending on the chocolate chosen.
Where Amedei is used…
- Il Buco and Scarpetta restaurants, New York – Chef Scott Conant
- Fontainbleu, Miami
- Chez Panisse, California –Alice Waters
- Heston Blumenthal, London
- The Fat Duck and The Dinner, Bvlgari Hotel
- Locanda Locatelli – Giorgio Locatelli
- Le Gavroche – Michel Roux
- The Ritz – John Williams
- Vincents, Latvia – Chef Martin Ritins
- Nero, Tallin, Estonia – Chef Laaniste
- Oud Sluis, Netherlands – Chef Herman
- Het Gebaar, Antwerp, Belgium – Chef Van Damme
- Otto e Mezzo – Chef Umberto (Hong Kong and Zuma, Hong Kong and Bangkok)
- Panini Grand Hyatt, Dubai
- Quay, Sydney – Chef Gilmore
- La Rinascente, Italy
- Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason, United Kingdom
- Feinkost Käfer, Germany
The range of chocolates
The classic style used in the packaging, wrapped on site at Tuscany, bespeaks of elegance and quality where the design and the colours—red, white, black and gold—portray what best represents Amedei and is a result of the Tessieri family working together. In the development of the packaging Cecilia’s mother, la Signora Ida played a key role due to her knowledge and research done by her in the area. A gold logo with the letterings, Amedei Tuscany is created from a quality card designed to protect the more than 120 varieties of chocolate from any change in their sensory qualities. The price of the chocolates differes from country to country.
- The dark chocolates, Cru is available in 50g bars or packages of 36, 12 or 4 napolitains
- The dark chocolate from the line “1 Neri”, the Percelana, the “9”, the Chuao and the Blanco de Criollo are available in 50g bars or in selections of 12 napolitains
- The dark chocolate blends, Toscano Black (70, 66 and 63 percent) are available in 50g bars and in selections of 12 napolitains as well as in original packaging containing 6 napolitains
- The milk chocolate, Toscano Brown is available in 50g bars and in selections of 12 napolitains as well as in original packaging containing 6 napolitains
- The Toscano White (white milk chocolate) are available in 50g bars
- The Toscano Nut Brown (Gianduja) is available in 50g bars
- The ‘I Frutti’ range consisting of Dark chocolate and Almonds, Milk chocolate and Hazelnuts, White chocolate and Pistachio Dark chocolate and red fruits (Toscano Red) and Dark chocolate and yellow fruits (Toscano Blond) are available in 50g bars
- Le Gocce, chocolate drops, (dark, milk and white chocolate) are available in 250g containers
- Cioccolata in Tazza the hot chocolate from the range “Amedei for You” is available in 250g containers
- Crema Toscana that comes in two flavours, Cocoa and Hazelnut is available in jars of 200g
- The Quadrotti available in filled bars of 45g each
- Prendimé range available in bars of half kilo
- Assortment boxes for tasting
Amedei Porcelana is often marketed as the most expensive chocolate in the world and has won numerous accolades as the ‘Best Bean to Bar’, ‘Best Dark Chocolate bar’ and the ‘Golden Bean Award’. The name Porcelana is given to the chocolate due to its porcelain colour of the translucent cocoa beans that is been used. The cocoa bean is a genetically pure strain of criollo that’s native to Venezuela. Available in 50g chocolate bars the price of the chocolate generally ranges from 15 to 20 Euros. Produced in limited quantity, around 3,000 kg or 20,000 bars per year, each bar comes numbered.