What do FIAT and Italy's oldest chocolatier family have in common?
Quite a lot it turns out. But before we find out what unites cars and chocolate, lets delve into the story of Italy's oldest chocolatier family: Majani.
The foundations of a female entrepreneur
In 1796 Teresina Majani sets up a small chocolate laboratory and shop in the heart of Bologna, capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. With that she lays the foundations of what is to become Italy’s oldest chocolatier family: Majani.
Business is going well and soon the lab starts experimenting with new ideas. One of the laboratory’s most iconic inventions is the Scorza chocolate in 1832. The bar’s crumbly texture and rich dark chocolate flavour makes it a truly delicious confection. Did you know that scorza is Italian for (tree) bark? A look at the chocolate’s texture is enough to understand why. It took an innovative new machine developed by Majani to create this unique chocolate bar. A real novelty at the time! Little has changed since then: the recipe is still the same and even the Scorza logo and packaging look surprisingly similar to the original first designs.
After the unification of Italy in 1861, Majani becomes an official supplier of the royal House of Savoy, whose coat of arms is incorporated into the brand's logo. Although Italy becomes a republic a few decades later, the royal coat of arms is still present in the Majani logo today.
Majani meets FIAT
A key defining moment for the business comes in 1911. It's in that year that Majani wins a contest to create a chocolate celebrating the launch of the new FIAT car model, Tipo 4. In an attempt to awe the judges, Majani comes up with a new take on an already successful chocolate: the cremino. The cremino itself had been invented in 1858 by Turin chocolate makers Baratti & Milano and consisted of a layer of hazelnut paste sandwiched between two layers of gianduja chocolate. Very fittingly, for this special occasion Majani creates a four-layered cremino, with two layers of almond paste and two layers of gianduja hazelnut chocolate. The chocolate creates a buzz and is crowned the winner of the competition.
More than 100 years on, the cremino FIAT is still being made today and is Majani's most prestigious chocolate. And just like back in the day, Majani's confections - whether it's their cremini or their Scorza chocolate - continue to tempt people from Italy and beyond (us included...).