«I remember that my dream, when I was a child, was to become a bricklayer, but in the afternoon, after school, I went into my dad’s lab for decorating biscuits and roll out shortcrust pastry. Then I began working with Iginio Massari, a rigorous but brilliant teacher, to whom I owe much. That’s where my love for pastry was really born». Giovanni Cavalleri remembers with these words his approach to this sweet and colourful world. He was born in Brescia and, when he was 12 years old, began working in his father Roberto’s shop at Erbusco, in Franciacorta. Today, almost 30 years later, he is member of the ‘Accademia Nazionale Pasticceri Italiani’, which gathers the 58 best pastry chefs in Italy. «Unfortunately, when I was 17 years old my father died. My family and I had to face a difficult decision: whether to continue our business or close it. With many sacrifices, we decided to continue. I often think of my father, the good smell of sugar and butter that I smelled in his lab when I was a child: it is the same one which fills my pastry shop, and so I understand that we made the right choice».
Italian style Macarons, Panettone, and Colomba Easter Cake
Today Giovanni produces rigorously artisan sweets, through the use of local products and raw materials which are appreciated all over the world. No preservatives, no improvers, no additives are used. The goal consists in bringing Italian high pastry abroad. And in order to pursue it, the first step was the opening of a store at the airport of Orio al Serio (in the province of Bergamo), a boutique which joins the main store 'Da Roberto' at Erbusco, where 9 young employees work. The most popular product here is the ‘Italian style’ macaron, prepared with such typical national products as the valuable almonds of Avola, lemons or oranges from Sicily. Macarons are very popular because their taste of fruit remains intact and a perfect balance between the crispness of their shell and creaminess of the filling is perceived. In this store, the sweets dedicated to different feast, too, are much appreciated as the ‘Panettone’ and the ‘Colomba’ Easter Cakes, traditional ones or with ‘armogiana’ apricot. These products do not contain any colouring agent, preservatives, or flavouring, but only fresh eggs, butter, flour, yeast base, milk, and candied fruits prepared with citrus peel from Sicily.
‘Bossolà’, ‘Dolce Giò’, and ‘Torta di Rose’
One of the products which are most linked to the territory is ‘Bossolà’, a sweet typical of Brescia which boasts an ancient tradition. It consists in pastry which rises for at least 26 hours, in order to be perfect. It is very soft, ring-shaped, and prepared with butter, eggs, flour, sugar, natural yeast, and Tahitian vanilla. How to eat it? A dusting of icing sugar is its traditional finishing touch, but the central hole can be used for enclosing soft creams and proposing a richer and more spectacular sweet.
‘Dolce Giò’, instead, designed by Giovanni and available throughout the year, is one of the most innovative products proposed by the ‘Pasticceria Cavalleri’: a leavened dome prepared with butter, eggs, milk, sugar, and yeast base, slightly spicy and containing candied ginger and semi-candied ‘armogiana’ apricots in large pieces. Its surface, enriched with apricot jam, is engraved in order to remind a crown.
‘Cannoncini’, too, pastry filled with custard, are much loved by customers, as well as ‘Torta di rose’, a pastry similar to the one used for brioches, but enriched with eggs and butter.