Our story

Beginnings

Our first recipe, “M”

1942, against a post-war backdrop, with sugar factories destroyed by bombing and the price of sugar running sky high, Silvio Agostoni took over a workshop in the Alpine town of Morbegno (Sondrio) for the production of sweets and confectionary.
Scraping together ingredients of sugar, chestnut flour, and a little cocoa powder, he created the “Torta Montanina”: it was an instant success.

Why “ICAM”?

The name refers back to our past and encompasses our origins, an acronym that stands for “Industria Cioccolato e Affini Morbegno” (Morbegno Chocolate and Related Industries).
“ICAM” was registered at the Lecco Chamber of Commerce in 1946, officially lauching the company’s story.

’40s-’50s

A spoonful of sugar

Silvio, together with his brothers-in-law Giancarlo and Urbano Vanini, successfully manage to build a small plant where they could extract sugar from dried beets.

With this essential ingredient and the cocoa powder, they begin to produce our celebrated “Dolcao” cream. The profits from this operation allows them to purchase the first sacks of cocoa beans and machines to process them.

A revolutionary invention

Until then, cocoa beans were pressed vertically—a lengthy, cumbersome process for the workers, who had to put the raw ingredient into place as well as clean the machine at the end of each pressing.
Collaborating with an entrepreneur named Vitali, ICAM successfully test what would turn out to be a world first: the groundbreaking Carle & Montanari press for the extraction of cocoa butter from the beans. What made it so special? Unlike the vertical presses commonly used at the time, the Carle & Montanari was a horizontal press, saving time and labor. This invention was so successful that it eventually became a standard across the industry.

From Morbegno to the Ivory Coast

Production of chocolates and chocolate bars increases, and we move to the historic Via Pescatori in Lecco.
From the very beginning we adopt a policy of self-sufficiencywith an international approach, which is how the ICAM factory came to be featured on the national stamps of the largest cocoa producer in the world: the Ivory Coast.

’60s

Carolina Vanini: entrepreneur, businesswoman, mother

Following the sudden, untimely loss of Silvio Agostoni in 1961, his entrepreneurial wife, Carolina Vanini, carries his winning ideas forward, assisted by her brothers, Giancarlo and Urbano. At a time when few businesses valued the leadership and expertise of women, Carolina set the stage for a model that continues today in our company—equal career opportunities and compensation for women.

Twice as good

During this boom economy, production facilities have to be expanded to cope with the increasing demand for our products and ICAM chocolate.
In 1967, work begins on extending the Lecco factory.

Le dolcezze del Lago di Como

The Pre-Alps, the valleys and the lake are home to our chocolate. We celebrated this picturesque landscape, known and loved the world over, with our famous tagline “Le dolcezze del Lago di Como” (“The sweets of Lake Como”). Our confectionary continues to be a symbol of our love for the local area and our efforts to protect these beautiful surroundings.

’70s

Connecting directly with cocoa-growing countries

Angelo Agostoni, son of founder Silvio, embarks on several trips to Africa and Latin America. Visiting the most remote cocoa-growing areas in order to learn about the farming methods that local communities have passed down for generations.

Inspired by Angelo’s travels, the company commits itself to creating the necessary conditions for purchasing cocoa directly from the producers, favoring local farming cooperatives.
Over the years we develop authentic relationships with a number of producers, allowing us to boost plantation productivity and improve the processes for producing cocoa. The fermentation and drying of the cocoa beans, for example, is especially crucial for the final quality of our fine chocolate.

Meanwhile in Italy

Thanks to Giancarlo Vanini, we creat synergies and position ourselves from the very beginning as active listeners in the market. Our success is based on a solid, collaborative, and proactive network of sales agents with whom we begin to work on a Normal Trade basis. Our presence across the country allows us to focus on needs and insights, gathered through direct contact with the consumer.

’80s

Enhancing technology and expertise

Our focus on the consumer continues during this period, taking concrete form in the installation of new stainless-steel tanks and a modular pipeline system, which guarantees allergen-free products and prevents any kind of cross-contamination between different production lines. These improvements make production differentiation possible, allowing us to meet a variety of dietary requirements and taste preferences, including niche markets.

The purchase and implementation of the new “Barth” roaster—which roasts at constant pressure and evenly evaporates internal and external humidity—allows all the flavor of the cocoa bean to remain intact.

As logistical demands increase, so does our available floor space: we open the Oggiono warehouse, home to thousands of ICAM Easter eggs.

’90s

La vie en Blue Rose

We increase production capacity and introduce new facilities, making significant investments to improve the production process and the quality of our products.
These include the launch on the market of our classic praline, BLUE ROSE: an exquisite hazelnut cream with crunchy cereal flakes in a delicious milk-chocolate shell, destined to win the hearts of our many customers.

Our first organic chocolate

As the first chocolate producer to rise to the challenge of creating an organic product, we are awarded the CONACADO rating in recognition of our ethical and sustainable efforts in the Dominican Republic. That country goes from being a producer of poor-quality cocoa to being honored with the title of “Fine of Flavor” cocoa producer in 2008.
Through collaboration with Dominican cocoa farmers, working as a cooperative, the first organic chocolate bars on the market are produced in 1997.

2000s

Professionalism and specialization

The millennium brought new long-term trade agreements, and ICAM begins to turn to large-scale retail in the production of our high-quality chocolate bars.
In 2004, we create the ICAM Linea Professionale (Professional Line) to meet the growing demands of chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and ice-cream makers, guaranteeing outstanding performance in every application. We continue to support professionals not only with our gourmet-quality products, but through the ongoing assistance of carefully trained technical consultants and sales agents.

Our second milestone

In 2008, we begin work on building a new production hub in Orsenigo (Como), equipped with the latest in production technology, designed and built to offer the market outstanding quality, exceptional food safety, and full traceability.

’10

The past living on into the future

On 3 September, our 70th anniversary, our 4.0 technology facility in Orsenigo is dedicated to the memory of Silvio Agostoni and Carolina Vanini, who had successfully passed on to us their passion for extraordinarily good chocolate for all. As entrepreneurs, they had very consciously prioritized innovation and ethics— values not only of culture and corporate vision, but also economics

We broaden our horizons and our relationships with colleagues at ICAM subsidiaries in Uganda, the USA, and the UK.

Chocostar: our 4.0 technology

In December 2010, we increase production capacity and versatility with the installation of a 4.0 technology molding line. We also continue with our industrial upgrade and complete the transfer of production to the new Orsenigo factory.
The new facility, named Chocostar, allows us to widen our product range and improve the quality and appearance of our chocolate. We are well-equipped to identify and anticipate the demands of the market and the needs of an increasingly well-informed and discerning clientele.

Full traceability

Production of our chocolate has two fundamental driving forces: functionality and traceability.
Our chocolate production facility is completely automated, allowing full traceability of each process, from the raw materials to the product on the shelf, through the sustainable supervision and management of every step in the production cycle. Using Siemens’ Simatic PCS7 software in particular we keep an archive of all information, from the bean to the finished bar.
Without this innovation, it would have been impossible to execute audits and manage our complex system of certification.

At the heart of the cocoa

Beginning in 2014, we relaunched Vanini, our premium brand which plays a leading role on the path from the heart of cocoa to the excellence of the chocolate. The approach established by our founder Silvio and continued through Angelo Agostoni’s journeys has led to the discovery of extraordinary, ancient cocoa varieties growing in places that are still partially unexplored, such as the Peruvian Amazon and Uganda. All in a quest to offer products with unique flavor profiles and combinations for the refined palate.

Culture, competence, creativity

In 2018, the Agostoni line was launched, joining the ICAM Linea Professionale range. This new line aimed at professionals took its name from the founding family and celebrated 70 years of commitment to the pursuit of excellence.
n 2019, we opened our high-level training center for pastry chefs and chocolatiers: CHOCOCUBE. A place for top professionals to share creativity, culture and competence. Free, online certified courses for all those who work with chocolate and wish to study the techniques and trends of classic and modern confectionary, ice-cream making, and top-of-the-range chocolate.

Today

Our commitment in black and white

Since 2019, we’ve detailed our progress in the area of social responsibility—always fundamental to our approach to production and business in general—through our Sustainability Report. In 2020, this document was included in the Index Future Respect 2020 by Consumer Lab, which compiles the reports most appreciated by consumers.

The Members Assembly implements our Code of Ethics, established and shared with all our stakeholders to formalize and promote the set of values we recognize as fundamental. Our code defines our rules of conduct while also providing the necessary tools for their correct application.

Compostable packaging

To combat pollution caused by single-use plastics, we actualize our commitment to protecting the environment throughout the supply chain, with the development of a certified, sustainable product. Flowpack is a biodegradable, compostable solution—the first to be made entirely from bio-waste materials. From ink and paper to innovative wrappers that ensure both food safety and the preservation of unique flavors.

Skills are rewarded

In order to adapt our employees’ skills to the high level of automation at our new production site—with increasingly complex duties and roles required by the market—we introduced the “Elemento di Professionalità” (Element of Professionalism). This assessment system, designed in agreement with trade union representatives, fosters continuous training, allowing workers of all levels and departments to test their skills, put them into practice, and receive a bonus. News of this employee-centered assessment was greeted with enthusiasm and featured in national newspapers such as Il Sole 24 Ore.

The evolution of our logo

Having reached the present day in our history, we will retrace our story through our changing logo, from its beginnings up to the introduction of the hallmark feature, still in use today: the rose. We continue through to this next stage, which indicates an increasingly mature awareness.

To mark our 75th anniversary, we are adopting a new mindset, updating our brand communication, and presenting a revamped logo, but we continue to invest in a structured and determined way in our fundamental asset:

sustainability.

Our Goals

Economics

Our Vision