fabbrica di cioccolato
The firm was established in 1866 by the chocolate manufacturer Domenico Viganotti, taken over by his son Romeo, then by the latter’s daughter Letizia. Her uncle on her mother’s side Adoro Pietro Pastorino and his son Roberto were the next family members to run the business. Roberto continued to sell the family’s traditional handmade sweets until 1999 when, “in the hope that he will carry on the proud management of the grand old company”, he sold it to Alessandro Boccardo, whom Roberto considered almost as a son. Alessandro, a passionate confectioner and owner of the family-run “Helvetia” patisserie in Campomorone, is the repository of ancient recipes and the secrets of the trade. The shop, in the heart of the old quarter, retains the original floor, counter, shelving and the glass and wooden display cabinets. The products, the fruit of a long painstaking manual process, are the famous “pralines”, including Boeri, Scorzette d’arancia (orange peel), Croccantini, Cremini and Zuccherini. In recent years, following the success of the film Chocolat, different varieties of spicy chocolate have become fashionable. Then there are associated sweets like Ginevrine, Gocce di rosolio (or Gocce della Regina), almond paste and fondants. The Genoese are only too happy to join the queue awaiting their chance to pick ‘n’ mix and take away one of the prized packages wrapped in blue paper.
Tradition and innovation: in the workshop they still use equipment from the turn of the 19th century, including a melanger, which is a stone grinder used to crush cacao and hazel-nuts; in Salita del Priore the new “caffetteria” is a coffee shop and “gelateria” selling cakes, soft ice cream desserts and ice cream made using traditional methods.