On September 14th 2004 I opened TAVOLETTA. Our motto is "artisans of quality chocolate."
It wasn’t determined by chance or by the latest trend but rather by a profound passion that I had carried inside of me. And passion isn’t a product of chance; I had discovered that it is part of our DNA. At the turn of the 20th century, my great grandfather Massimo Colella and my grandfather Luigi Colella opened a wonderful full-service grocery store typical of those times, which included the production of their own pastries and and a chocolate laboratory. I was young when my grandfather passed away but my memories are filled with scenes in which he tried to impress his passion and love for those things he knew how to do and which he loved doing. I don’t know if it is simply a coincidence, but my chocolate laboratory was born a 100 years from my grandfather’s birth.
My grandfather died as all grandparents do and life goes on. In 1981 having reached the age in which choices are considered I asked my family if I could register at the School of Hospitality Services and Culinary Arts, but they were not in agreement. I wanted to become a chocolatier. Educational and professional choices were made, but in 2002 I was obbliged to shut my company down. I decide to take a sabatical year, do some soul searching, understand myself and make decisions for the future. Inevitably it is the woman in your life who helps you make the best choices, in my case Annarita, my wife. Her words were, “this time do what you love most and pay no attention to what anyone else has to say”.
I wanted to be A Chocolatier. I returned to the basics, back to those wonderful books and autographic notebooks left by my grandfather, I dusted off some old photos, quite an emotional experience and after a year of research, of courses and meetings to improve and consolidate my knowledge with those who were already in this business, I began to make my own chocolate.
A Single Rule. Chocolate’s own rule, the same one I give to myself; the absolute quality of the ingredients. I embarked upon a sensorial journey of taste in quest of the finest raw materials that, together with quality chocolate, give life to a new bouquet of flavors. Many people have come into my boutique. Many have become friends and unknowingly collaborators. We begin talking, chatting and exchanging experiences of the palate and before you know it, the idea, the name for a new chocolate confection is born, a process in stark contrast to the standardization of products.
Finding the farmer of the Langhe who produces the Piedmont IGP Hazelnut with the dedication of one who loves his land is a mission. Fusing my chocolates with the fruits of the earth, the IGP Saffron of the Plains of Navelli a part of the region in which I live in, to create extraordinary pralines is paramount. So begins the search for the dried figs and oranges of Calabria and the quince of Liguria, the almonds of Puglia and the vergine olive oil of Abruzzo, the pistacchios of Sicily and the parmigiano reggiano of Emilia. Travelling and living the length and breadth of Italy allows me to capture this lovely country into my chocolate bon bons by transforming the process into a storytelling experience.
Once I am back in my laboratory, I work these products, typical of the Italian tradition, into small handcrafted artisanal delights that tease the palate and open the mind to new sensations. The beauty of this journey is that it never ends but opens us up to infinity of aspects and possibilities...my grandfather’s notebook follows me everywhere, everyday new discoveries and experiences enrich TAVOLETTA’s chocolate shop.
Chocolate has fixed rules that looks beyond the ticking of a watch or modernity. The chocolatier is an alchemist.