In an apocalyptic scenario, with sugar factories destroyed by bombing raids and sugar prices driven up to exorbitant levels by the war, Silvio Agostoni took over a workshop in Morbegno for the production of sweets and confectionery.
Using the few simple ingredients he managed to round up – sugar, chestnut flour and a little cocoa powder – he created the “Torta Montanina”, which proved an instant success.
The company’s founder, Silvio Agostoni, together with his brothers-in-law Giancarlo and Urbano Vanini, managed, with the few resources at their disposal, to successfully put together a little plant for extracting sugar from dried beet.
The money they made from this operation allowed them to purchase the first sacks of cocoa grains and the first machines for processing them.
With the sugar extracted from the beet and the cocoa powder, they began producing and selling “Dolcao” cream.
ICAM then moved to Lecco and began producing chocolate in its small factory there.
The idea was to make what had hitherto been considered a luxury accessible to all families, by producing quality chocolate at an affordable price. To achieve this, ICAM immediately chose to go down the challenging road of self-sufficiency, by purchasing the raw material required for production directly at the source. In addition, the company worked alongside machinery manufacturers to develop the chocolate production plants, as well as organising a sales network to supply its products directly to retailers.
A decisive role was played by the collaboration with the Lecco businessman Vitali, which led to the devising, testing and installation of an innovative press to extract the cocoa butter from the beans.
ICAM thus succeeded in creating its own plant for the production of chocolate, allowing it to make tablets and individual chocolates.The combination of the Carle&Montanari presses and ICAM cocoa was so successful it was featured on a stamp from the Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cocoa.
A new phase began with the entry into the company of Angelo Agostoni, first-born son of the founder. At the start of the 1970s, Agostoni embarked upon several journeys in Africa and Latin America, visiting the cocoa growing areas to learn about the farming techniques used. It was the experience acquired during these trips that allowed ICAM to create the conditions for purchasing the cocoa directly from the producers, with a distinct preference for cooperatives of local farmers.
Over the years an authentic partnership has been developed with cocoa producers, with a view to boosting productivity on the plantations and improving the procedures for preparing the cocoa, i.e. the fermentation and drying, of decisive importance for the quality of the end product.
The production of eggs and a number of confectionery service products was transferred to the Oggiono facility.
With the collaboration of a number of cocoa farmers in the Dominican Republic gathered together in a cooperative, ICAM launched the first organic chocolate products on the market.
In the month of September, the first stone was laid of the new production hub in Orsenigo, in the province of Como.
Built on an area totalling 50,000 square metres, the new facility will allow the company to double the amount of cocoa beans currently processed to a total of 40,000 tonnes per year and thus open up new market segments.
Launch of the “Vanini” brand of top-quality Italian chocolate, made from extraordinary varieties of cocoa from carefully selected plantations. The first range of Vanini chocolate has its origins in far-off Peru, and comprises an exclusive collection of recipes, the first able to astound even the most demanding chocolate connoisseurs.