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.