Roberto Catinari

Chocolate as a form of art

History of the Catinari’s chocolate

Since 1974, Roberto Catinari has meticulously selected every raw material to make each creation an excellence of Made in Italy. Our commitment will always be to provide you with small moments of joy for your palates. "Quality is a choice of life."

was where everything started

We are in 1954. A cardboard suitcase in hand, 17 years full of hope and fears, and the desire not to be a burden at home. These were hard times, when Roberto Catinari had left Bardalone, the village where he was born in 1937, to get to Switzerland. He moved to Winterthur (Canton of Zurich), to be precise, looking for a job.

Years ago, in one of the many interviews he gave, he said about his time in Switzerland: “The first year I worked in a place where I did the cleaning and kept the coals lit. It was a very hard experience.” But Roberto didn’t give up and, after a short stay in Italy, he returned to Switzerland, where he finally began to work in a company that will remain in his heart, “It was a wonderful company where eighty employees worked. It was a historic company full of sweets and chocolates, a classic tradition of those places.”

The passion for chocolate, Roberto still narrating, was born at a precise moment in his childhood: “I fell in love with it when the Americans came. They drove by and threw chewing gum at us. Then, they threw us pieces of chocolate, and this was the long-awaited moment, but we, the children, wrangled over them”. And that chocolate was in his destiny, it is clear from an episode of those years in Switzerland: he fell ill and so he was moved to the processing of chocolate section. “There – he said – I learnt how to produce chocolate from the cocoa beans. They taught me to use the ‘old tools’ of the trade and I continued to use them throughout my career, even when I returned to Italy.


Natural ingredients







Return to Italy

In 1982, a few years after returning to Italy, Roberto took the big step: he opened the historic chocolate shop in Agliana, for the Christmas holidays. The first shop, in via Provinciale Pistoiese and then the second, in via Bellini, have been visited by customers from all over the world over the years. They came to see the magic of chocolate processing. In these laboratories, in fact, Roberto’s creativity has been expressed at the highest levels, bringing out continuous and dizzying inventions.

He had clear ideas about the economic and social value of the craftsmanship of his work. To a newspaper, which interviewed him, he said: “I must say that chocolate has always fascinated Italians very much. Handcrafted specialties, those that are not to be found in the supermarket but bound up with ingredients of a territory or made with high value and aromatic natural raw materials. Today more than ever customers are looking for true craftsmanship and hungry for information. They love to know the origin of the cocoa the chocolate is produced from. They love to know that the almonds are of the best quality from Bari, the hazelnuts are from Piedmont, the pistachios are from Bronte, the citrus fruits are from the South.


The Italian customer prefers “round”, delicate, but not too sweet flavours, like those related to tradition, such as gianduia, dried fruit, caramel and milk. It remains the fact that the chocolate par excellence is the dark one, characterized by a percentage of 70 up to 80% of cocoa.”

Roberto Catinari is an icon of Italian chocolate and was one of the unquestioned protagonists at the time when the Chocolate Valley was born in Tuscany. Indeed, it can be said without fear of being denied, that he was the inspiration of other good Tuscan chocolatiers.

In addition to many international awards, Roberto Catinari was bestowed with the title of Knight of the Republic in 2012.

History of chocolate… and of its magic!

History of chocolate… and of its magic! Chocolate quality is everything, he often said. The choice of raw materials was, in fact, a successful strategy, and made him succeed as one of the most appreciated masters of the pastry art par excellence. Over the years Catinari has seen several generations approaching the pleasure of chocolate. “Tastes change, in a manner of speaking. The old tools of the trade, the manual skill, and the craftsmanship have always been there for me to achieve quality and goodness. Something so beautiful and good that I can’t describe”. His more than one hundred types of pralines, hand-decorated Easter eggs, every creation that came to life in his hands at the Agliana workshop, speak of love, happiness, imagination, and creativity. “I think I’m one of the few who work in this regard” The craft techniques he learnt in Switzerland as a young man, are perhaps the most difficult secrets to repeat. It is no coincidence that he was among the very rare ones in Italy who still produces chocolates filled with liqueur – in his case with Vin Santo, Brunello or Chianti wine – “in a sugar crust”. Secret that he transmitted to his closest pupils and collaborators. “It is a very complex process that I learnt in Switzerland – he said – and so handcrafted that now it has almost been lost due to the high costs of realization. It consists in letting the drops of liqueur or wine “rest” in cornstarch drawers so that they form a thin sugary crust, which are then dusted and covered with dark chocolate”.

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Honoring this history, in search of the beauty that has shaped it, is the task that all those who today promote this small prestigious, Tuscan company have assumed.

The value of emotions
in unique pieces

Chocolate becomes an art when craftsmen offer their services to stimulate emotions by working wisely with fine raw materials. The search for the value of emotions can be carried out in unique and exceptional pieces. Those have been designed for a conscious customer, who understands the meaning of the gesture of bringing to the mouth, and tasting,a chocolate that is different from all the others.

Roberto Catinari

Roberto Catinari, as an artist and as a master for all of us, was all this: he gave full weight to the choice of raw materials; he recognized the great value that manual work, craftsmanship has on these raw materials; he developed a continuous search for new combinations and processes. But above all Catinari means, still today, cultivating the passion for this work to the utmost, with the only purpose that Roberto always had: to excite those who love to taste chocolate in all its forms in an authentic and conscious way.

At Catinari’s, in fact, manual skills still have an important place. The machines permit us to create chocolates, but it is then the expertise of the artisans that gives shape to the chocolates as well as to the other tailor-made creations that we produce. There is no standard product, only different signatures of chocolate craftsmanship and art.

Roberto Catinari