Artisan: Guido Castagna
Location: Via Torino, 54
10094 Giaveno ( Torino) Italy
Website: L'Atelier del Cioccolato
One of the many great things about Torino Italy, that many here in the U.S. may not realize is, in addition to being known for culinary excellence, Torino (or Turin if you prefer) is also known as the birthplace of solid chocolate. It is said that nowadays, Torino has more chocolate-makers than France and Belgium combined, and one of those chocolate masters that really stands out to us is Guido Castagna.
In 2002, Guido Castagna established his “Atelier del Cioccolato” (Chocolate Workshop) in Giaveno, just west of Torino.
This young skilled Italian craftsman from Torino, with refined taste and creativity, has brought award-winning innovation to the traditional chocolate of the Piedmont region in Italy. He combines basic ingredients with flair and originality, adding a personal artistic touch. For its products, the Atelier uses the best cocoas from all over the world and also the Piedmont Hazelnut I.G.P., or "Signora Tonda Gentile” (fruit of the Tonda Gentile hazelnut).
Toasting, refining, and conching are part of a production process aimed at enhancing the natural basic raw materials and to obtain very high quality artisan-made products.
In 2004 the “Atelier del Cioccolato” received the Slow Food organization's “Eccellenza Artigiana” Regione Piemonte award, and awarded Guido the qualification “Maestro del Gusto” (Master of Taste).
Guido Castagna was born in Giaveno-Torino in 1974. He studied the culinary arts of pastries, cake and chocolate for six years at the Jacopo Bartolomeo Beccari confectionery school. The school, founded in 1919 in Torino, is the oldest Italian public school teaching the culinary arts.
Before starting his own “Chocolates Workshop”, he worked for six different confectioner’s shops in the Piedmont region, and then established “Guido’s confectioner and coffee shop". In 2002 he decided to concentrate on producing the best chocolate products possible, leading to the establishment of the “Atelier del Cioccolato”.
In his artisan workshop, he produces:
- 8 different types of chocolate bars, 4 classic, and 4 single-origin cocoa beans
- 4 types of chocolate Truffles
- 4 types classic Piedmont Bonbons
- 4 spiced, 4 types of chocolate Dragées
- The classic Piedmont chocolate Gianduja CQ chocolate cream
- The innovative Gianduja +55 chocolate spread cream
For hazelnut lovers, the innovative +55 chocolate spread incorporates hazelnuts grown in the Piedmont region, and are regarded as the best hazelnuts in the world for their intense flavor.
Myself and Doug met Guido Castagna the first time at “Salone del Gusto 2006", the most unique luxury food exhibition in the world. At that show there were several chocolate producers, and we tasted several kinds of chocolates, but I was impressed by Guido's Fondente (dark chocolate), and decided to see if he would become a vendor to Avanti Savoia.
After my first visit to his Atelier, and many hours of discussion regarding various techniques of chocolate production, different qualities of cocoa beans, and more, I decided that this young man is a gifted “Master chocolatier”.
FAQ: What is I.G.P.?
IGP is an acronym for for "Indicazione Geografica Protetta" or "Protected Geographical Indication". This is a certification that an agricultural product was produced within a designated geographical region in a manner consistent with quality ratings established by the Italian I.G.P. regulatory system.