NATURAL PRODUCTS EXPO WEST - Booth # 5453—Tomorrow at Natural Products Expo West the Agostoni family—second generation owner/operators of ICAM S.p.A. (Lecco, Italy)—will announce the launch of their carefully curated Food Service collection in North America. Sold under the "Agostoni Chocolate" brand, this new Food Service collection features a select group of premium covertures, as well as cocoa-derived ingredients. All products are processed in-house from raw cocoa secured primarily through the Agostoni Equal Partner Direct Buying program in the Americas.
Initial sales have begun through a network of select specialty distributors on the West Coast of the US and Canada, and through e-commerce partner ChefShop.com. Agostoni plans on expanding distribution throughout the US and Canada over the coming year.
The new Agostoni Chocolate Food Service collection includes a range of conventional dark blends including a sugar free option with naturally derived sweetener, a special set of four Single Origins and two Single Estate dark covertures, a unique semi-sweet organic baking chip, a special Italian traditional hazelnut gianduia, and milks and whites in both organic and conventional options. The ingredients group includes cocoa powders, liquor and butter, as well as nibs and a unique 100% hazelnut paste. All Agostoni Food Service items are GMO-free and Kosher or Kosher Parve certified.
According to Ellane Pirotte, sales director for the Agostoni Food Service program in North America, the Agostoni family felt the time was right to introduce their award-winning chocolate to a new market. "We conducted tastings with leading North American chefs and confectioners to understand their needs in terms of flavor palette, workability, and price point. Based on their feedback, we carefully refined our introductory product offering from the vast covertures and ingredients repertoire of our parent company."
Great Chocolate Begins with Great Raw Cocoa
The Agostoni family's approach to excellence in chocolate making is rooted in their long-time commitment to in-house production of all the cocoa-related ingredients in their finished chocolate, winnowing and grinding raw cocoa to produce top-quality cocoa liquor, butter and powder—crucial elements of the finished chocolate which they also produce in their factory in the Lake Como region of northern Italy.
Starting in the early 1980s, ICAM's head of sourcing—Dr. Angelo Agostoni—began developing the company's Equal Partner Direct Buying program, to secure a reliable supply of high quality fermented beans by respecting the rights of farmers to a fair price and an independent livelihood. Dr. Agostoni was the first commercial customer for fermented cocoa beans from CONACADO, the Dominican farmers cooperative that is now one of the world's most important sources for premium organic cocoa. Beyond the Dominican Republic, the Agostoni family has strong Equal Partner relationships in key cocoa-sourcing origins such as Ecuador and Peru. Africa is the Agostoni family's next project, with a new Equal Partner program beginning this year in Uganda.
About Agostoni Chocolate North America and ICAM S.p.A.
Family operated since 1946, the company is an Italian "modern artisan" farm-to-bar producer of premium all-natural chocolate for industrial, food service, and private label customers. A world leader in organic cocoa processing (producing approximately 20% of global supplies), the Agostoni family operates a state-of-the-art, eco-sustainable cocoa processing facility producing premium product from responsibly grown and sourced raw cocoa. The Agostoni family's motto has been simple: "Our chocolate-making passion: art and science in equal measure." Agostoni Chocolate is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ICAM S.p.A. based in Lecco, Italy. agostonichocolate.com.