Tommaso Muzzi, founder of the Foligno-based company, seduced his wife with a cream puff. Today, these delicacies are among the most coveted Italian pastries abroad
by Emanuela De Pinto
In another life she would have been a pilot; instead, she is the Queen of desserts. Thanks to a cream puff that Tommaso Muzzi offered her on a date just before he asked for her hand. Love at first taste, as Loredana Muzzi Ferrarese, owner of Antica Pasticceria Muzzi, tells it.
The business began in 1795, in Foligno, with anise-flavored cookies: sugary jewels from the court of the local Trinci family. The pastry oven didn't arrive until the 20th century. After many generations the entrepreneurial acumen of Filippo and Andrea – Tommaso and Loredana's sons – was able to export the brand beyond regional borders. They formed the Muzzi Gruppo, which includes the Industria Dolci Borsari (Idb), headquartered in Badia Polesine (Ro), Antica Pasticceria in Foligno and G. Cova Panettoni (Mi). It is a network of 160 shops, 270 employees and yearly sales totalling €30 million.
Despite these numbers, the Muzzi family still prefers the taste of tradition. We met Loredana, now the president of the Muzzi Group, in their Via Roma shop in Foligno. She was accompanied by her grandson, Ludovico. “I was born to a family of pilots in Trento, and I was the first one in the city to get a license. Then when I was 22 I married Tommaso Muzzi and my life changed.”
Today Muzzi patries are masterpeices recognized in Italy and abroad thanks to innovative techniques, a continuous drive to invent new delicacies, a team of nutritionists and adherance to strict health norms – all part of a certified business. In the shop in Campello sul Clitunno it’s already panettone season. This is where the centerpiece of Muzzi’s product line gets packaged. The most requested panettone, of course, is the traditional one with raisins and candied fruit. But there are also some surprises: pear and chocolate, marron glacé and raisin, limoncello or pistachio cream. There is a line dedicated to fine wines, as well: panettone laced with Passito di Pantelleria, Sagrantino Docg, Moscato d’Asti, Selvarossa or even Champagne. Panettone alla birra – panettone with beer – aims to please the younger crowd.
You taste them first with your eyes , then with your tongue. Muzzi also produces chocolate bars: green tea, milk chocolate with pink Himalayan salt, gianduia with candied ginger, dark chocolate with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, wild berry, and white chocolate with white grape. The tea room deserves a more refined selection like the shortcrust Meliga cookies, the most recent arrival in the Muzzi household. The packaging is elegant, traditional yet contemporary. The classic cakes in Via Roma remain the Sachertorte and the Torta della Nonna complete with almonds, cooked cream, chocolate chips and shortcrust.
A world of sweetness. Their baked goods are all made with fresh traditional ingredients (eggs delivered daily, Diamante citrons from Calabria, Sicilian orange peel, fresh cream from the Trentino Alps, vanilla from Madagascar and essential oils) and dedicated to Tommaso Muzzi, the true founder of Antica Pasticceria Muzzi. Their panettone is sold all across Europe (the English are crazy about them), in Australia, the United States, Brazil and Mexico. Ludovico, Loredana’s grandson, is the future of Antica Pasticceria Muzzi. The love of sweets in passed down from generation to generation, just as it was 200 years ago.