Ro­vagnati: all in good taste

A his­tory of in­ge­nu­ity and au­dac­ity: over 70 years of a brand

All About Italy (USA) - - All About Italy | Made In Rovagnati -

Pas­sion, ta­lent and fam­ily fea­ture in the story of Ro­vagnati: pas­sion for work, ta­lent to in­vest and the fam­ily on which it is based. Over 70 years of ex­pe­ri­ence have led this salami brand to be­come an icon of ex­cel­lence, a sym­bol of Italy that took up the reins in the post-war era un­touched by his­tor­i­cal cir­cum­stance.

The first char­ac­ter in the story is An­gelo Ferruccio Ro­vagnati, the head of the fam­ily who de­cided to en­gage in the pro­duc­tion of but­ter and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of cheese in the 1940s and 1950s. The idea was to fo­cus on ev­ery­day items, in­tu­ition that proved to be cor­rect but an ex­tra touch of courage might have given it a bit more mo­men­tum. This is where the youth and the acu­men of Paolo, An­gelo’s son, in­ter­venes, which gives this small fam­ily con­cern am­ple space for growth.

Paolo Ro­vagnati is a young bach­e­lor who gives him­self to the project and his bride-to-be: he leaves the stud­ies and en­trusts his train­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence in the field. His in­tu­ition sug­gests fo­cus­ing ac­tiv­ity on the pro­duc­tion of cured meats, con­vinc­ing the fa­ther of this choice, and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion brings him to de­velop two ideas: the first is that qual­ity is the an­swer to ev­ery ques­tion; the sec­ond is that this could also be ap­plied to cooked ham, then con­sid­ered an in­fe­rior prod­uct. This marks the of­fi­cial start of the ad­ven­ture for Paolo and the com­pany he took con­trol of in 1968: the ob­ses­sion for ev­ery­thing well done, dili­gence and look­ing to the fu­ture fuel the daily life of the com­pany, which in a short time man­ages to be rec­og­nized at na­tional level.

This long-term vi­sion switches to care of pro­duc­tion pro­cesses, prod­uct pro­mo­tion and the in­no­va­tion it re­quires, and it is no sur­prise when Paolo comes up with a fur­ther se­ries of bril­liant ideas in the ’80s. With 20 dif­fer­ent types of cooked ham, Ro­vagnati in­vests in tech­nol­ogy at the com­pany and con­sid­ers di­ver­si­fy­ing in cooked meats, and from the union of the two el­e­ments, dis­carded prod­ucts such as lean ba­con come into the equa­tion. “Sgras­satella” is born, with the Ro­vagnati sig­na­ture, pre­pared with raw ma­te­rial of Ital­ian ori­gin and char­ac­ter­ized by dou­ble pro­cess­ing con­sist­ing in the use of a cold-cut cen­ter wrapped in ex­tremely lean ba­con.

But the real stroke of ge­nius comes in 1985 and is named Il Gran Bis­cotto, a prod­uct that strength­ens the com­pany and places it di­rectly onto the pan­theon of in­dus­try lead­ers. The choice of raw ma­te­rial is para­mount, the painstak­ing pro­cess­ing and the se­cret recipe, which has since re­mained the same and is jeal­ously guarded by the Ro­vagnati fam­ily. Il Gran Bis­cotto be­comes a com­pany icon, for its con­tin­u­ous brand­ing around the rind, that in­deli­ble sign which makes it al­ways rec­og­niz­able ev­ery­where. It is from that mo­ment that the an­swer to, “Raw or Cooked?”, be­comes a sim­ple one: Gran Bis­cotto.

The bril­liance of Ro­vagnati’s ideas equally shine in pro­mo­tion: th­ese are the years in which tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials pre­dom­i­nate in Italy and the op­por­tu­nity lends it­self per­fectly to in­vest­ment in tar­geted ad­ver­tis­ing. On the main Ital­ian TV net­work Me­di­aset, the key early-evening fea­ture is the pro­gram “The Wheel of For­tune”, led by one of the lead­ing tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ters, Mike Bon­giorno: Ro­vagnati spon­sors the show and en­ters Ital­ian homes di­rectly through the main door. Ad­ver­tis­ing suc­cess is only to be ex­pected and the com­pany’s progress con­tin­ues in the same up­wardly di­rec­tion. Suc­cess is coun­ter­bal­anced with fa­mil­iar dis­cre­tion: Paolo Ro­vagnati is not in­clined to self-cel­e­bra­tion, but rather in­vests his time in mak­ing the next move, with two key words to guide his path, ex­pan­sion and in­no­va­tion. The ’90s are also im­bued with th­ese two val­ues: prod­uct range is ex­panded with mor­tadella and pack­aged slices be­come the in­ven­tion of the decade. Ro­vagnati launches its pro­duc­tion line, guar­an­tee­ing the qual­ity and aroma of the goods, with that touch of ge­nius that makes the com­pany great.

Tra­di­tion marks the way but tech­nol­ogy de­fines it: a plant is set up at Vil­las­anta, which runs fully au­to­mated pro­duc­tion de­liv­ery, while set up in Ar­core is the de­vel­op­ment of in­no­va­tive prod­ucts “Le Pa­na­tine” and “Snello Gusto & Be­nessere”.

When Paolo Ro­vagnati passes in 2008, the com­pany is ma­ture enough to walk on its own two feet, ob­vi­ously re­ly­ing on the strong and pre­pared shoul­ders of his wife Clau­dia Li­monta and sons Lorenzo and Ferruccio. The ab­sence of the charis­matic and coura­geous fig­ure of Paolo Ro­vagnati could have caused a painful end­ing, a crit­i­cal stand­still in the vi­sion­ary de­vel­op­ment dreamt up and car­ried out by the Bri­anza en­tre­pre­neur. But no, when a man is able to dream as pow­er­fully as Mr. Ro­vagnati, his ideas and as­pi­ra­tions run far be­yond his own per­son: Clau­dia, Lorenzo and Ferruccio do not stop but con­tinue to fol­low the path in­di­cated by Paolo with re­newed en­ergy. The idea of con­quer­ing new sec­tors of the mar­ket is a process of internationalization that re­lent­lessly brings in France, Bel­gium,

Ger­many, Ire­land and the United States, al­ways in the name of the su­pe­rior and cer­ti­fied qual­ity of a Made in Italy flag­ship, a prod­uct of the whole sys­tem of val­ues of the Bel paese it­self. And grow­ing also means broad­en­ing the ini­tial vi­sion, ex­pand­ing into ar­eas ap­par­ently far from the orig­i­nal ref­er­ence point. The ac­qui­si­tion by Casa Ro­vagnati of Pinei­der, a his­toric and iconic Made in Italy brand of hand­made sta­tionery con­ceived and raised in Florence, may have seemed some­what bizarre at first, but ac­tu­ally cor­re­sponds to a spe­cific and no­ble sen­ti­ment. In fact, the Bri­anza com­pany had cho­sen to come home to Florence, af­ter all the change in prop­erty and man­u­fac­ture, pre­cisely with a view to the re­cov­ery and safe­guard­ing of an im­por­tant piece of Ital­ian crafts­man­ship, a spe­cial na­tional qual­ity that it is also in the DNA of its own prod­ucts. Pinei­der’s hand­made pa­per and leather items seem a long way from Ro­vagnati’s gas­tro­nomic pro­duc­tion, but sit along­side the com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor of par­tic­u­lar Ital­ian ex­cel­lence, and they stand to­gether on the au­da­cious flight of know­ing how to wisely di­ver­sify in­vest­ment. This is also the case with Berkel, a brand name in the field of slicers, in­vented over a cen­tury ago in Rot­ter­dam by the butcher Wil­hel­mus van Berkel, which then passed un­der the own­er­ship of Avery and Gen­eral Elec­tric. We are talk­ing about the fa­mous red fly­wheel slicers, real col­lec­tor’s and ex­hi­bi­tion items, whose mar­riage with Ro­vagnati is some­thing like a corona­tion in an an­cient fairy tale, one that speaks of ded­i­ca­tion, un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment and a for­ward­look­ing vi­sion into the fu­ture.

Th­ese are also found in the re­fined and warm at­mos­phere of Ro­vagnati’s “Bistrò Ital­iano”, in­au­gu­rated be­tween the end of 2016 and the be­gin­ning of 2017 in Mi­lan, trans­form­ing the fash­ion for aper­i­tifs into a com­plete and ful­fill­ing tast­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, punc­tu­at­ing the cold liturgy of bland, fleet­ing meals. The Bistrò Ro­vagnati al­lows cus­tomers to re­claim the time re­quired to ex­pe­ri­ence fla­vors in ev­ery nu­ance, re­cov­er­ing the plea­sure of leisure which mod­ern life has trans­formed us from en­joy­ing. In ev­ery de­tail, the restau­rant re­ver­ber­ates a pas­sion for gas­tro­nomic cul­ture, with sim­ple fur­nish­ings and tables that in­vite shar­ing and con­vivi­al­ity, es­pe­cially if you choose to be served the high­light of the rich menu on of­fer, the 500g “Co­to­letta Gran Bis­cotto”, com­bin­ing the his­tory and tra­di­tion of clas­sic Mi­lanese cui­sine with the au­then­tic­ity of Italy’s best­selling cooked ham.

To con­clude, the eyes of Clau­dia, Lorenzo and Ferruccio are wide open to a hori­zon of new prom­ises, new chal­lenges and new achieve­ments, the very same that Paolo Ro­vagnati first imag­ined, now a re­al­ity in con­stant mo­tion, punc­tu­a­tion on a melo­di­ous song­sheet that tells a story of great suc­cess and Ital­ian pride.

Clau­dia Li­monta, Pres­i­dent of Ro­vagnati, with her sons Ferruccio and Lorenzo

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