Amarena Fabbri



The Fabbri Company of Bologna has been making uniquely delicious “Amarena” cherries in syrup for over a century. Only the best wild Amarena cherries are carefully selected and candied in syrup according to Gennaro Fabbri’s original recipe, created in 1905 in the small Emilia Romagna town of Portomaggiore.


The story of the Fabbri Company begins in that year when Ferrara-native Gennaro Fabbri and his wife Rachele took over an old general store in Portomaggiore, which was in close proximity to a wild black cherry orchard. One day, Rachele picked the cherries and slowly cooked them and semi-candied them in copper pots. She transformed the cherries into a wonderfully delicious treat that soon became known as the Amarena Fabbri.

To thank his wife, Gennaro purchased a ceramic jar from Riccardo Gatti, an artist from Faenza. The unmistakable white and blue ceramic jar has become a trademark of Amarena Fabbri ever since.

The company grew in the 1930s, a decade that marked the arrival of cherries in liqueur and the expansion of the product range to include preserves. Gennaro’s sons, Romeo and Aldo, became increasingly active in the business.

During the post-war years and ensuing economic recovery, the launch of a new product gave Fabbri yet another resounding success: cremolato. The compound pastes in classic and fruit flavors were used to make gelato by simply adding water or milk. The product formed a market niche for Fabbri in which the company remains the undisputed leader.

Fabbri continued producing liqueurs into the 1970s, as well as the other traditional products such as Amarena and fruit syrups. With the increasing popularity of the brand, Fabbri continued efforts to diversify production, adding products for restaurants, cafés and bars to its compounds for gelato, amarena cherries and syrups. In 1999, the company changed its name to “Fabbri 1905 SpA,” commemorating the year in which it was founded.

Today, Fabbri 1905 is run by the fourth generation of the Fabbri family, leading a company of 250 employees that boasts some 17 product lines, 23 packaging lines and distributes products in 110 countries worldwide.

Amarena Fabbri cherries are perfect for topping desserts, yet are equally delicious in savory dishes.

Decadent, delicious and flavorful, Amarena Fabbri cherries are still produced from wild black cherries and are crafted today using the same family recipe developed more than 100 years ago. Amarena Fabbri cherries are enjoyed as a delicious topping for gelato, ice cream, cheesecake and desserts, as well as in a multitude of savory dishes and preparations. They are ideal for mixologists to use in innovative cocktails, especially the famous sparkling Amarena Amore Mio, made with Prosecco.

Whether you are creating a new recipe or simply enjoying them out of their beautiful ceramic vase, Amarena Fabbri cherries will make any dessert or dish a memorable, authentically Italian experience.


An Italian kiss

When Perugia-born clothing designer Luisa Spagnoli first invented the hazelnut-centred chocolate in 1922, she called it a cazzotto because it resembled a fist. The name didn’t ring right to Giovanni Buitoni, managing director of the Perugina chocolate factory and Spagnoli’s younger lover—Buitoni was 14 years her junior.

The idea of asking a shop assistant for a “punch” just didn’t resonate with the entrepreneur, who was also on the board of directors of the famous pasta brand. Buitoni commissioned futurist artist Federico Seneca to design the packaging and concept, hence the silver wrapping and the tiny slip of paper printed with a quotation about love we still unfurl today.

The box depicting two lovers locked in an embrace was inspired by Venetian Francesco Hayez’s The Kiss (1859), on display in Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera. All these factors proved a winning recipe; a 1927 advertisement claimed, “In only five years, Perugina has sold 100 million Baci”.


Francesco Hayez’s “The Kiss” (1859)
For Spagnoli and Buitoni, business was never solely about making money (he was also the mayor of Perugia between 1930 and 1934). The pair looked after their employees in a time when corporate social responsibility was practically inexistent: terraced housing and a swimming pool were built near the workplace; dances, football matches and social occasions were regular occurrences; and a nursery was opened at the Fontiveggi factory during the First World War, so that female employees could bring their children to work while the men were away at war.

In 1939, the chocolates set sail to the States, opening a shop to rave reviews in New York’s Fifth Avenue. Luisa Spagnoli did not live to see the overseas success of her chocolates. In 1935, at age 58, the businesswoman passed away in Paris with throat cancer, Buitoni steadfastly by her side.
The enterprise continues to go from strength to strength. In 2018, Baci Perugina were rebranded. Gone are the entwined lovers, replaced with a scattering of gold and white stars topped with a contemporary logo. Limited Edition, Extra Dark 70% and Milk are minor variations on the original dark chocolate recipe. Looking down from the firmament, Luisa Spagnoli and Giovanni Buitoni, who went on marry the opera singer Letizia Cairone two years after Luisa’s death, surely would be proud to see the product of their love sweetly primed for the future.

This article is from:


The end of the Caffè Giubbe Rosse in Florence



The end of 2018 in Florence also sees the end of its most famous historic café. The company that owns the café has been declared bankrupt, owing around 3.5 million euros.

Contributing to this debt has been the colossal land rent in the centre of Florence of 25,000 euros per month plus very significant charges for the occupation of public land the large, invasive and very expensive outdoor terrace built on unfortunate directives of the Municipality and of the Superintendency for architectural and environmental heritage).
Caffè Giubbe Rosse is a café in Piazza della Repubblica. When opened in 1896, the cafè was actually called “Fratelli Reininghaus”. It was named “Giubbe Rosse” (Red jackets or coats) in 1910, after the jackets which waiters wear to this very day.
The café has a long-standing reputation as the resort of literati and intellectuals. Alberto Viviani defined the Giubbe Rosse as fucina di sogni e di passioni (“a forge of dreams and passions”).

The Giubbe Rosse was the place where the Futurist movement blossomed, struggled and expanded; it played a very important role in the history of Italian culture as a workshop of ideas, projects, and passions.
Poets such as Ardengo Soffici, Giovanni Papini, Eugenio Montale, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Giuseppe Prezzolini and many others met and wrote in this literary café, an important venue of Italian literature in the beginning of the 20th century.

Important magazines such as Solaria and Lacerba originated here from the writers who frequented the café.
Giubbe Rosse was founded by two Germans, the Reininghaus brothers, in 1896.
Let’s hope someone will step in to rescue this historic part of old Florence!

This article was written on Facebook by Freya’s Florence Tours – Freya Middleton

Foods in Paris

So, I was lucky enough to take a guided tour through the old market streets of Montmartre. OMG.  Hang on!

First stop: an artisan boulangerie:











Next stop, a cheese shop:















Then we chose a shop for dessert, a fruit tart:






















There’s more to come, but we need to pace ourselves!

Hot chocolate and Florence



Did you know that hot chocolate is a Florentine tradition? From its first appearance at the Medici court in the 16th century, the city’s nobles went crazy for the bitter drink, which was served instead of wine or water at meals in Palazzo Pitti.

It experienced a second moment of importance in the 19th century, when some of the city’s now-historic bars served it to travelers, aristocrats and intelligentsia. I recently learned about Hot Chocolate in Florence on a thematic tour of the city with Francesca from the cultural association Tre Passi Per Firenze, organized by Yelp Firenze, and I’ve asked her to tell us more about it. The article below is composed thanks to her research, with my words.


History of chocolate in Florence: where and whom

Christopher Columbus may have sailed the ocean blue in 1492 but it took him until his fourth expedition, in 1502, to discover chocolate. The nice people of the island of Guanaja in Honduras sent some home with him, having also served it to him as a drink, which he found disgusting. Cortés did a better job of diffusing the love for chocolate, having found it in Mexico in 1519 and imported it to Spain in 1528. It took half a century until it became regularly available in Europe – Italy was the second country to adopt it.

The “gift from the gods” was prepared as a drink – the possibility to make chocolate harden into a bar came only later – following the methods brought back via Cortés. The seeds of the cacao were ground into a powder and combined with boiled water to make a bitter drink. Early reports say it was healthy and provided much energy. Its success in European cities, including Florence, was that it provided an alternative to wine and beer when the water couldn’t be drunk unless boiled. It wasn’t entirely to the taste of Italians until combined with cane sugar: Girolamo Benzoni, an important merchant, said in the middle of the 16th century that it wasn’t fit for men but for pigs. He changed his mind when he tasted the sugared version.

For the entire article, see: