Stepping in through the door of Romanengo Factory has been like stepping back in time, everything was like it was in past. Who would have thought that this experience would have been for me one of the most beautiful had in Liguria. That day I felt like a child in a toy shop!
But let’s make a brief introduction to let know more about Romanengo: the “Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano” shop is an institution in Genova, founded in 1780 by Antonio Maria Romanengo. He opened a colonial goods and drugstore. Then, his son Stefano received a diploma in confectionary and opened up the stores. Stefano’s son Pietro, registered the business with the Chamber of Commerce and Arts as “Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano” to ensure that his father’s name lived on. Pietro designed the logo and established the company’s elgant blue paper packaging.
That day Mr. Pietro Romanengo himself and his staff of confectioners welcomed us in their prestigious factory. Mr. Romanengo’s words touched me, I was really happy to hear that even if nowadays there are many technological innovations and the industrialization methods are adopted by many to keep in step with the times, they have decided to remain an old confectionery and chocolate workshop with the main aim to preserve the quality of their products and the traditions.
Yes, the traditions! That’s one of their aim. They want to keep alive the italian holiday traditions, such as Christmas, All Saint’s Day, Lent and more through the celebration sweets, and pass them on to new generations. This point has always been important to me. My italian family taught me the importance of traditions, how they provide a sense of family history and feeling of roots.
The visit to the factory has been exciting. Confectioners showed us how they coat every single fruit in sugar and glucose syrup candying them for days and weeks preserving colors and flavors. The most remarkable thing is that they still make candied fruits, chocolates, fondants and bon bons, dragees, dessert cakes according to the traditions passed down from generation to generation.
Every room of the factory had it own “sweet speciality”. There was the one where they hand made the Bridal confetti in big ancient vats, just as the Romanengo tradition wants. The room was filled with the sweet scent of almonds. I was captured by the old confectioners tools, the baskets full of confetti with different flavors.
One of my favorite part of the factory visit was the “chocolate room” and more precisely the old chocolate mill. I was surprised to see that they make chocolate just like 200 years ago, placing the cocoa and milk chocolate into this old mill which turns and beats continuatively for 72 hours, night and day! It’s intriguing to see this big mill, with its two large granite wheels, in action and imagine that once it was turned by a horse. Needless to say how intense was the aroma of chocolate coming from the old mill!
At the end of the visit we were welcomed to taste some sweets and a special rose syrup drink. Then, I understood why characters such as Giuseppe Verdi “fell in love” with Romanengo’s sweets or Prince Umberto I required for his wedding with Margherita di Savoia in 1868 a supply of “candled fruit, demi-sucres, elegant bonbons and small metal bonbonieres decorated with pastilles”.
An unforgettable day!