In the late morning we reach the small shop, where we’re welcomed by two nice and kind ladies: Francesca, Mrs. Marangoni and mother of the chocolate master Alfredo, and Carla, that we later find out to be the mother-in-law of Alfredo himself. We look around for a few minutes, fascinated by the glass jars full of different kinds of dragées, by the chocolates neatly placed inside the cases and by the colourful tissue paper that contains the chocolate-covered fruit. Carla offers us a “novembrina”, that is a round and flat dark chocolate with a thin layer of almond paste on the inside. We obviously can’t decline the offer and, in the exact moment we taste it, our immersion in the magic of Marangoni Cioccolato officially begins.
In the meanwhile, from her crimson sofa, mum Francesca starts telling us the story of the family, that goes at the same pace with the one of the shop and of their production.
The great-grandfather of her children was the one who launched the activity, which was born as a bakery and continued by his son, who was passionate of both bread and motors (love that he passed down to his grandson Alfredo). Hereinafter, Eros Marangoni, Francesca’s husband, bought the building where part of the family still lives and the shop is located, and he also launched a patisserie, so sweets became part of the family tradition. Being a farsighted man, he was one of the founders of the consortium of bakeries in Macerata, but unfortunately he couldn’t pursue all of his proposals. When he died, Alfredo was about 4 years old, his sister Lorian was 17 and his brother Giorgio 18.
During the years, the family preferred to entrust the management of the bakery and patisserie to the employées, but then…
…but then Alfredo, who in the meanwhile got a diploma as a land surveyor, became fond of chocolate and its processing. It’s the eighties, and in Italy there are very few chocolate masters. Even less are those who think of matching fruit and chocolate in a happy marriage of taste.
He started experimenting new pairings and he took the reins of the professional life of Marangoni family, who has always remained united even in this new adventure: Alfredo is the chocolate master, Giorgio works behind the scenes, Lorian takes care of the confection, her daughter Valentina is the brilliant mind who creates the packaging and graphics and, as said before, Francesca and Carla give life to the shop.
In addition to them, in the small family company work the smiling Cristian, Fabrizio and the intern Giacomo, and two ladies that wrap up every single chocolate in its own colourful tissue paper.
Imagine a typical day at the laboratory: the few employées untiringly work until lunch time, doing everything by hand, cleaning and preparing the dried fruit or covering it with chocolate, while Alfredo and Lorian keep on working until night, sometimes even late, in order to take care of every single detail of their creations.
As soon as he stops working, Alfredo runs to the shop… or better, under the shop, where he can unload his second passion: music. In the basement he built a rehearsal room, that is now turning into a small recording studio, and there, still dirty with chocolate, he plays the bass and the guitar with his friends, who scold him because his perfume distracts them.
And we could open a separate chapter about the perfume. Entering the laboratory, situated in a small warehouse in a badly paved alley, you’re hugged and pleasantly invaded by a scent of cocoa and rum that, even by itself, would be able to raise again any bad day. Such a scent necessarily has to come from something magic…
In the room where the chocolate creations are produced, we find the guys busy around the machine that is covering – in this case – the figs. On the right, three other machines continuously temper white, milk and dark chocolate.
In the meanwhile, the base of the raisins chocolates is cooling down as much as needed by Alfredo to cut it with a knife, in perfectly similar squares. He is the only one responsible for the cut and preparation of the chocolates and chocolate bars, that he makes by hand in the molds.
We taste another creation: a zabaglione-filled chocolate… greatest of wonders!
Here Alfredo tells us about his philosophy and his way of producing: he only chooses excellent ingredients, even to the detriment of of the price, he experiments with his beloved pots and molds in order to create the best chocolate blends, that change based on the preparation he wants to realize. As regards the covered fruit, Marangoni specialty, for exemple he needs a “round and neutral” dark chocolate, not too acid or invasive because otherwhise it would alter the final taste, covering the flavor of fruit and rum. The latter, moreover, it’s not a random rum but it’s made with an Alfredo’s recipe, so that it’s not too much alcoholic but very aromatic, with a vanilla aftertaste, and none of its shades gets lost during its evaporation.
After finding the perfect balance, the blend of dark chocolate is made in a huge pot, that contains around 700 kg of it, and it’s used to hug fruit and fruit chocolates.
Alfredo’s words are soaked with all of his passion for chocolate, that happily accompanies his life in and out the laboratory. Every creation is born from an idea that is experimented and refined, every chocolate is like a child that belongs to the big Marangoni family.
You understand that Alfredo’s love for chocolate is total and insatiable when he tells you that at night, at home, when he’s hungry, he eats the chocolates that surrounded him during the whole day, never tired of them.
And, after all, it exactly goes in this way: the small Marangoni sweets are unique, each of them is a microcosm where the perfect balance among fruit, rum scent and chocolate emanates at every bite… and you’d love to taste every available type, one after the other, because you never have enough of them.
At this point your mouth is surely (and properly) watering… if you want to personally try the magic of Marangoni Cioccolato, step by the shop La Delizia in Russi (Ravenna) and let yourself get inspired!