Cecilia Tessieri Rabassi: Elevating Luxury Foods
Meet the expert on emotive branding who raises the bar on creating super-premium luxury foods.
In the world of luxury foods, Cecilia Tessieri Rabassi has excelled in establishing an ultra-luxury brand. Achieving the purest taste is the ultimate goal for professional chocolatiers. Still, few have approached the pinnacle of excellence like Cecilia Rabassi, the first woman in the world awarded the title Maître Chocolatier. She is the six-time recipient of the coveted Academy of Chocolate’s Golden Bean Award, the Oscars of the chocolate world, the most ever awarded to a chocolate manufacturer. Now, she’s also setting her sights on pushing the envelope of other luxury foods.
Cecilia Rabassi is no stranger in turning ordinary into extraordinary, creating innovative ventures that achieve world-class status and recognition. She founded Amedei in 1990 and is renowned for her tireless efforts in establishing the company as a top-tier chocolate producer, building it entirely from scratch.
Investing in the Future
In 2017, Ferrarelle SpA, an Italian mineral water company, acquired the controlling shares of Amedei, and Cecilia Rabassi retained a one percent share. The sale of her beloved company was a difficult decision but was necessary so that it could progress through investment in further production and global branding. She is thrilled that her philosophy of quality “founded on discipline, knowledge, and respect” is an ideal shared with the group and continues to be practiced today.
Cecilia Rabassi now works as an independent consultant for Amedei, in charge of research and development. Instead of relying on third parties, Amedei continues to receive knowledge and expertise firsthand from its founder. This arrangement enables fast response to new developments and ideas, thereby protecting the company’s margins and the high standards she has cultivated. Her presence there ensures “continuity in the quality and uniqueness of research that made Amedei a world-renowned brand for its excellence in the selection and processing of cocoa.”
New Adventures in Consulting
Becoming a consultant has afforded her the freedom to expand her skills and apply them to other high-end food markets such as wine and oil. She has developed a refined palate over the years, enabling her to become a connoisseur of “maître de bouche” scents and flavors.
Her 30 years of experience and refinement are benefitting companies who seek to build or enhance their luxury food lines. She follows the client’s product from birth to positioning on the store shelf, including its communication between luxury food brands at a strategic and consultancy level and in developing international commercialization.
Cecilia Rabassi holds a wealth of international contacts developed over the years, from the campesinos of South America to laboratory technicians. “I believe that it is essential for the development of a product of excellence to know the various aspects of the processes both in the field and in the more technological processes within the company,” she says.
Her consulting services include organizing production, organoleptic development of a product, and the adjustment of existing ones. In an industry where innovation is critical to success, Cecilia Rabassi carefully follows small and large luxury food company trends. Based on her analysis, she can create competitive marketing strategies, package design, and brand development for her clients.
When it comes to following current trends, she is sure never to compromise her client’s company vision. She says, “We must not risk chasing only the fashions of the moment but of growing the business with a continuous implementation in the evolution of the world, which includes aesthetic and culinary tastes.”
Cecilia Rabassi helps companies establish a strong brand identity based on extensive research and by developing the perfect design concept. She takes a deep dive into finding the essence of a company’s product and builds a formidable strategy around it. Combining elements consumers find desirable with marketing savvy, Cecilia Rabassi can help businesses turn their dreams into reality.
Food Fit for the Gods
How did she become so talented in creating such resplendent luxury foods? The answer is simple —through discipline and hard work. In her journey to produce the ultimate chocolate, she spent eight years perfecting her craft through study, research, and training in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany, learning from the masters. Endless hours poring over historical books enabled her to learn processing techniques and she traveled to distant lands to establish relationships with cocoa-producing farmers.
She relished the thought of creating the most exquisite chocolate using only the best-sourced ingredients in the world. “From the beginning, my work was inspired by the awareness that only the best raw materials could give life to the best chocolate.”
Always on the hunt to explore nuances to enhance the luxury food experience, her approach is no less than that of a master sommelier. She says, “Travel is always a source of inspiration. However, once back at the company, you need to know how to summarize everything seen, tasted, and smelled, treasuring the experience made and to start developing it with a lot of passion and competence.”
Testing, tasting, learning techniques, blending to achieve just the right notes, consistency, and quality are only part of her composition. The true essence of luxury food is the sense of passion and complexity experienced even before it passes through one’s lips.
Her techniques are incomparable and uncompromising. It is no wonder that the fruits of her labor are exclusive, award-winning, and served in some of the world’s top restaurants.
Beneath the Tuscan Sun
Cecilia Rabassi was born in the picturesque region of Tuscany, where she lives with her husband and two sons. She takes great pride in her Tuscan roots, and it was there she founded Amedei, named after her grandmother. The company operates from a historic former cast iron foundry in the town of Pontedera. There, she oversees every step of production, thus ensuring the end product maintained the highest quality possible. For all the ingredients she uses, she has it down to a science, knowing when and how to preserve peak flavor and intensity to dazzle the taste buds.
Through her guidance, the facility became internationally recognized as a reference for producing the finest grade of chocolate. Tours of the facility are offered to visitors, allowing them to experience the product by learning about the process and enjoying a tasting of luxurious chocolate as a grand finale.
A National Treasure
Through her efforts, Amedei has earned over 80 national and international awards. Cecilia Tessieri Rabassi was honored in 2007 and named a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the only honor bestowed on the best ambassadors of Made in Italy in the world. In 2008, she received Dino Villani award by the Accademia della Cucina Italiana for the promotion of an excellent traditional product from Italy.
She has trained young talent in the art of chocolate making, teaching courses in various universities in Italy and the United States. Never sitting on her laurels, she continues her quest for unique discoveries and learning the latest techniques that take her around the world.
Even though she has proved to be a world-class contender, Cecilia Rabassi still maintains the artisan craftsmanship that she so long ago developed. She is enjoying her time as a consultant to which she says, “I work on each project with passion and competence. Chocolate is my first story.” Learn more about Cecilia Rabassi’s story at ceciliatessierirabassi.com.