Dario Loison, "I magnifici 7"
Photo Credit of Renato Vettorato

The Christmas lights are far away, but some people would love to celebrate Christmas all the days of the year, especially here in Ireland, where the winter seems to last forever. Easter is coming, and in Italy, we are preparing to eat another cake, the colomba. Il Panettone is the typical Italian cake that Italian people consume during the Christmas holidays, but this project aims to make panettone a cake for every occasion.

The prestigious brand Loison has started an interesting brand awareness campaign that involves bloggers and “brand ambassadors” all over the world sharing ideas for extraordinary recipes using the Loison Panettone (L’Insolito Panettone )

Young Italian people abroad have organised cultural activities to export and spread the knowledge of over 70 years of Italian pastry tradition.

Dario Loison, the CEO of the company, gave an interview to the magazine Circular, which included the following questions and answers:

Why is panettone so important in Italy and why is Loison special? *

Meanwhile, it must be said that we were born in 1938, and this year, we celebrate 80 years of history. A story made by 3 generations, my grandfather Tranquillo, my father Alessandro and even me, who joined the company in the 90s.

To make a Loison Panettone it takes 72 hours, of which over 30 involve leavening made with mother yeast obtained by spontaneous fermentation. A slow timing that only an artisan can respect.

Moreover the choice of ingredients is the result of a continuous and careful research started at the end of the last century; in our Panettoni there are prestigious ingredients ( All Slow Food Presidia): “il Mandarino Tardivo di Ciaculli, il Pistacchio di Bronte, il Chinotto di Savona, lo Sciroppo di Rose Liguri, la Vaniglia del Madagascar.”

Last but not least is the transparent and honest relationship with all Loison partners, consumers and B2B.

What do you mean by “Unusual panettone”?

Unusual Panettone is a project that started as a blog in 2003: initially, it was a spontaneous collaboration with chef friends in Loison, which allowed us to create an extraordinary background of “adaptability” of Panettone on all dishes, both sweet and savoury. In 2010 it became a real site that united chefs and enthusiasts of the food and wine world who contributed and interacted with the diffusion of panettone, de-seasonalising it and releasing it from the usual clichés.

So since 2003 we are talking about innovation and creativity around the world of Panettone.

How was the “Amici di Gusto” project born?

Amici di Gusto, Friends of Taste, is a social campaign that aims to involve Italian taste lovers all over the world by sharing stories related to Italians abroad, who tell how, thanks to the flavours, traditions and gastronomic products succeed in feeling at home and spread the culture of Italian food all over the world.We have therefore made several episodes in some of the main European cities, each one dedicated to Amici di Gusto, who tells their story in an emotional key.

How are you moving to Ireland, where are you present?

The United Kingdom in general is a market that interests us in a particular way. There is literally an explosion of a culture of food, especially towards Italian products. Currently we are present in several “Corners of Taste” in Ireland, particularly in some outlets near Dublin. But the goal is to expand our presence and, in the near future, expand online sales abroad.

The Panettone as a versatile “concept”, could it please the Nordic world?

Absolutely yes. Outside Italy, panettone is not linked to Christmas, but is seen as a typical Italian dessert. For example in France it is used instead of pan brioche, in England they are crazy for the Amarena and cinnamon version.

How can we imagine the Loison panettone in Ireland? Do we have a “Celtic recipe” in mind for the emerald island?

What do you think of plum pudding made with panettone instead of bread? Or maybe the barmbrack panettone version, maybe inserting the Loison traditional Osella coin in place of the typical ring!

We can even think of panettone in a savory version: warm and toasted with slices of dark Irish cheese, accompanied by excellent beer!

What is the best recipe for guiding the Irish gourmet customer in the Loison World?

First of all, the packaging positions the product in a luxury dimension oriented towards the “gourmet customer”. In addition, for some years we have been working with young Loison enthusiasts who become our brand ambassadors abroad: in addition to on-site training, because they have to experience the Loison concept, they are able to transmit the Loison dream with enthusiasm and passion, a multi-sensory experience that involves not only leavened products but also biscuits.

The kitchen as a synonym of sharing and tradition, how can you see the Christmas symbol of the Italian family in a foreign country, but also increasingly multicultural?

Christmas is a moment of meeting, of participation and it is more and more a global occasion of celebration of where to share the best things. Eating a panettone together is a moment of sharing taste, emotion and happiness.

You work with bloggers and influencers, why is it important to involve web writers in promoting your image?

The web has always played a primary role in our business. Back in 1996 we had already created our first internet site, which allowed us to reach distant markets, such as Japan. I immediately understood the enormous opportunity and so we have always tried to be pioneers in this sense. This is why today we know how important it is to work with the influencers stimulating the creation of valuable content from key people in our industry. It is the best way to achieve our niche more effectively.