The “Torta Montanina”
The history of the ICAM Italian chocolate and chocolates begins way back in 1942. In an apocalyptic scenario with sugar mills destroyed by bombings and the price of sugar soaring through the roof because of the war, Silvio Agostoni took over a workshop in Morbegno for producing sweets and confectionery.
With makeshift ingredients: sugar, chestnut flour and a little cocoa powder he creates the “Torta Montanina”, which proves to be an instant success.
The founder, Silvio Agostoni, together with his brothers-in-law Giancarlo and Urbano Vanini, succeeds in building a small plant for extracting sugar from dried beets with makeshift equipment and with excellent results. The first steps towards the future production of Italian chocolates are taken.
With the money obtained from this operation, they can buy their first machines for cocoa processing and the first sacks of cocoa beans.
With the sugar extracted from beets and the cocoa powder, they start producing and selling the “Dolcao” cream.
Chocolate: a product for everyone
ICAM then moves to Lecco: the small factory for the production of chocolate was in business.
The idea was to allow every family to obtain what was then considered a luxury product, producing quality chocolate at a reasonable price.
To achieve this, ICAM immediately takes the difficult road of productive self-sufficiency, buying its raw materials at source. Moreover, by working alongside machine manufacturers, it develops chocolate production plants and organises a network of sellers to supply its products directly to stores.
The collaboration with Vitali
The collaboration with Vitali, the entrepreneur from Lecco, became crucial; it allowed designing, testing and installing an innovative press for extracting cocoa butter by pressing the beans.
ICAM thus creates an own facility enabling the production of chocolates and bars.
The synergy between the Carle & Montanari presses and the ICAM cocoa succeeded so well that it appears on a stamp for the Ivory Coast, the largest cocoa producer in the world.
Expanding the plant
The Lecco factory in Via Pescatori is built with new plant systems to increase the production of chocolates and chocolate bars.
Following the untimely and sudden death of Silvio Agostoni in 1961, his winning ideas are carried forward by his wife Carolina Vanini, helped by her two brothers Giancarlo and Urbano.
The increased demand for ICAM chocolates and chocolate requires an upgrade of the production space. Work to double the size of the factory begins in 1967.
Control over the entire production chain
With the arrival of Angelo Agostoni, the eldest son of the founder, in the company, a new phase begins. In the early 70s, he takes several trips to the cocoa growing areas in Africa and Latin America, to learn their cultivation techniques. And in fact, it is based on the knowledge that he acquires that ICAM creates the conditions for purchasing cocoa directly from the producers with a marked preference for farming cooperatives.
Over time, an out-and-out partnership has been created with the producers, in order to increase the productivity of the plantations and to improve cocoa preparation procedures, i.e. the fermentation and drying which are paramount for the final quality of ICAM chocolates and chocolate bars.
Purchase of the production area of Oggiono. A new area where a large 5,000 square metre warehouse is built in order to meet the new logistic requirements.
The production of eggs and of some service products for patisseries are transferred to Oggiono.
New stainless steel tanks and a modular pipe system are installed, able to guarantee with absolute certainty that there is no contamination between the different production lines.
The new "Barth" roaster
The purchase and installation of a new “Barth” roaster with a constant pressure roasting process which allows the moisture to evaporate evenly from both from the inside and outside of the beans.
Purchase of "Bindler" machinery
1996 is the year the “Bindler” equipment is purchased, a machine that enables the production of large volumes of chocolate and therefore allows the company to meet the growing demands of customers. In addition, an innovative robotic line allows a breakthrough in the production of chocolates, reducing the insertion time of the chocolates into their boxes.
ICAM was the first chocolate manufacturing industry to meet the ORGANIC challenge.
With the help of some cocoa farmers in the Dominican Republic joined in a cooperative, in 1997 ICAM launched the first chocolate products from organic farming.
The Professional Line is born
The historical offering of chocolate and cocoa-based ingredients to professionals and artisans, hitherto unstructured, now consists of a complete range of toppings and cocoa ingredients, creams and decorations, ranging from laboratory chocolate to single origin ones, in addition to grand crus with a complex flavour profile.
ICAM celebrated its 60th anniversary with a big party: “Il Galà della Rosa (The Rose Gala)”.
This event was also attended by many former employees who, through their work, have significantly contributed to the growth of the company.
New production site
In September 2008, the first stone was laid of the new production centre in Orsenigo in the province of Como.
Built over a total area of 50,000 square metres, it will double the current number of cocoa beans processed, reaching a total of 40,000 tons per year and enabling the company to open new market segments.
The Agostoni-Vanini family passion finds new momentum from building the new factory, equipped with the latest technology, designed and manufactured in order to provide the market with excellent quality, total food safety and complete traceability.
New formats and new packaging
As a result of its state-of-the-art plant, the shape and packaging of the icing chocolate change. Historical recipes, and new proposals, are now offered in “Bottoni (Drops)”. Thanks to their small size and processing flexibility, they allow optimising the time and energy required for melting.
ICAM Icing Drops come in practical bags designed to meet use and conservation requirements: the optimal plastic protective barrier coupled with aluminium preserves the organoleptic characteristics of the product at its best throughout its entire shelf life.
Agostoni is born
On the occasion of its anniversary, ICAM Chocolatiers presents Agostoni a new line dedicated to professionals, which takes its name from the founding family and celebrates 70 years of commitment to excellence.
Agostoni enhances the supreme excellence of the cocoa and completes the ICAM Professional Line range, addressing chocolate lovers.
For 3 generations, the Agostoni family has nurtured its chocolate culture in ICAM, and has led the company to becoming the Italian company of reference for processing high-quality cocoa.
Agostoni includes a fine selection of premium products, and an exclusive collection of very special and unique recipes, to impress the most demanding chocolate lovers.