Nonna Maria’s family recipe book, now almost legendary, was passed down to Augustine, who follows the details of ingredients and preparation meticulously. Truly a scrapbook, bulging with loose pages, tattered and worn, it is a compendium of family favorites, overflowing with authentic recipes from Naples. This journal of artisan baking is the heart of La Biscotteria.
Augustine’s family emigrated from the Province of Sorrento, just south of Naples. Almond and citrus trees, grape vines and anise hedgerows are indigenous to the region and their produce was available in abundance.
In 1989 Augustine made the decision to transform his passion for baking into a vocation and purchased a small bakery in Belmont, California. The bakery had specialized in premium desserts but Augustine was soon baking Biscotti, just like his grandmother, Nonna Maria, had taught him.
The first challenge was to convert the family recipes to larger quantities called batches. Using only premium quality ingredients, the recipes were followed implicitly and have not changed. Critical to the process was adjusting each oven to achieve a consistent result. Augustine will tell you, the key to a premium product is indulging in quality ingredients: sweet cream butter, whole California almonds, pure cane sugar, and whole, fresh eggs. But his ultimate secret is the essential oils that produce a pure, fresh flavor and a beguiling aroma.
During the 90’s, the growing trade of specialty coffee shops increased the demand for crunchy biscotti. Restaurants and hotels joined the trend and business boomed for La Biscotteria. Gradually additional varieties
With a penchant for detail, Augustine was the master designer — from marble floors to cherry counter tops. The building’s exterior facade, with its beautiful, old-fashioned appeal, follows the original hand drawn sketch; the new bakery also exceeds the most current code requirements. In October 2003, in a comfortable and unassuming way, the brand new La Biscotteria retail and wholesale bakery opened for business. Augustine’s dream was finally realized.