A Chocolate Artisan

Cecilia Tessieri

In 1990 something happened in the world of chocolate that would change it forever. In that year, fuelled by their passion for chocolate, the brother and sister partnership of Cecilia and Alessio Tessieri created the Amedei chocolate company.

Together, they travelled the world to unearth the best ingredients to help fashion their dream, creating – as a consequence – some of the finest chocolates through the perfect synthesis of careful ingredient selection.

Today, to those in the “know”, chocolate types such as Chuao and Porcelana represent the very highest quality of refined cocoa.

Amedei uses only the finest beans, highly aromatic Criollo (rarest and most prized) and Trinitario (hybrid of Criollo and Forastero). These cocoas were on the verge of extinction before Amedei dedicated itself to their revival.

Amedei also differs from many chocolate makers because they process the cocoa themselves, controlling the fermentation (crucial to reducing the bitterness of the bean and releasing the basic aromas) and drying in the country of origin, then roasting the beans in Italy so they can control temperature and time to get the best from each type of cocoa. Then they conch up to 72 hours and temper the chocolate to achieve the smoothest texture and mouth feel.

Cecilia Tessieri is Maitre Chocolatier, and she creates all the recipes for everything produced at Amedei. After almost 20 years, she still maintains the same desire for perfection that first spurred her and her brother to go into business nearly two decades earlier.

A reserved personality, Cecilia seemed uncomfortable, even awkward when we met at the Sloane Club in London but as soon as introductions were exchanged and we engaged over the subject of chocolate, she was transformed like a firework set to flame.

Chocolate has received some very negative press in the past and to a degree, the more commercial product deserved it. However, what brought my brother and I into the business was the desire to create something completely unique; something that others would aspire to and could satisfy the palate like nothing before.”

To say that she and her brother achieved their aim would be like suggesting the Mona Lisa is just a painting.

Since the creation of the company, Amedei has enjoyed a level of success and critical recognition that is almost unprecedented in the chocolate world.

Only this year, following an examination by a committee of experts of the London Academy of Chocolate, Amedei won the Golden Bean Award for the “best bean to bar chocolate in the world”.

“We are very proud of having received this award, not only because it represents recognition of our art by some of the most knowledgeable and informed people in the business but also because it reflects our objective to produce the best chocolate in the world.”

Although Cecilia was reluctant to reveal some of the secrets behind her unique creations, she was open about one thing when it came to the production of her chocolate.

“Dedication to my art is everything. Alessio and I named the company in honour of our grandmother, who held a very special place in our hearts, and as such, we always strive to achieve the very best. Our goal will always remain the same: to produce exclusive, organic chocolate like no one before us.

“This is why we have invested so heavily in purchasing our own plantations and believe in investing in the future of our growers and workers. Their efforts are all part of our success story and we adopt an ethical approach which allows everyone to benefit from the company’s continual growth.”

Synonymous with quality and fine dining, Amedei remains the chocolate of choice for many chefs and chocolatiers around the country. In fact renowned chocolatier William Curley has gone on record as saying he believes their brand represents the finest product of its type currently available on the market. Whilst the average bar may not suit everyone’s pocket, it does nevertheless offer a satisfying “return” on the palate.

“For us it is all about quality rather than quantity. We could increase our output and expand much faster than we already have but our emphasis is on the product rather than the profit. Of course we are a business and we need to make more than we spend but Alessio and I agreed right from the start that we would never compromise.”

For more information on Amedei and their extensive range why not check out their web site on www.amedei.com

Poppy Watt