La Biscotteria is a descriptive name - revealing an Italian heritage and its unique purpose. In 1989 Augustine Buonocore purchased a small wholesale bakery in Belmont, California and renamed it La Biscotteria. The bakery was compact but functional with an existing wholesale foodservice business; it focused on baked, premium desserts for country clubs and premium hotels in the San Francisco area. Augustine, an accomplished baker, easily assumed the production of Tiramisu, Cannoli and New York Style Cheesecakes; however, true to the name on the door, Augustine quickly added authentic Italian Biscotti to the selection.
The most traditional Italian variety, Anise Biscotti (biscotti all' anice), was the first to be introduced. The almond dough was lightly seasoned with the spicy seed of the anise plant, Pimpinella Anisum, and essential oil of anise, in carefully measured quantities. It was a tremendous success, and this initiated an immediate expansion to a second variety. Dark Chocolate Anise Biscotti was created by being hand-dipped in a premium, blended, semi-sweet chocolate from Schokinag, Germany.
Over a period of 4 years the baked desserts were gradually discontinued. Biscotti baking was consuming the oven time and sales surpassed all expectations. The biscotti line developed to accommodate industry demands with variations in size. Grande is a seven inch cookie for the growing trend of specialty coffee shops. Biscotti is the five inch original size and is now the standard retail cookie. Biscottini, a three inch mini-cookie, has applications ranging from a hotel turndown service to a gelato and sorbet garnish. The expanded product line attracted a new retail customer base: the prestigious account of Draeger's Fine Foods, Lunardi's, an Italian, family-owned grocery chain, and a number of family owned retailers in the renowned Italian neighborhood of San Francisco known as North Beach.
In 1994 Augustine expanded the biscotti selection by introducing Lemon Biscotti (biscotti al limone). Lemon, also a flavor indigenous to Naples, had been the personal favorite of his grandmother, Nonna Maria. Using the pure essential oil of lemon, the Lemon Biscotti and White Chocolate Lemon Biscotti were added to the collection.
Sales were expanded through Farmers' Markets and word of mouth. Wholesale deliveries were made direct from the bakery as a weekly route was developed. Unabashed consumers followed the fragrant aroma to arrive at the unadvertised commercial roll-up doorway of the La Biscotteria commercial bakery, looking for fresh baked Italian treats.
The second citrus variety, Orange, made its debut in 1998. A natural extension to the line, it was also based on the traditional flavors of Naples. Orange Biscotti (biscotti all' arancia) is also available in Dark Chocolate Orange Biscotti.
Originally, Augustine had considered the Raisin Biscotti an 'adult' flavor because it had traditionally been served at the end of a family dinner, after the children had left the table. A particularly complementary flavor to wine, Raisin Biscotti (biscotti uva secca) was served to the adults who chose to partake of dessert wine or port. Having acquired the taste for this 'adult' treat as a young man, Augustine finally developed his grandmother's Raisin Biscotti recipe for commercial bakery production. It is now a favorite of Northern California wineries, where it is offered in the tasting rooms and retail gift shops to complement their fine varietal wines. In addition, the Raisin Biscotti is now packaged for retail sale.
La Biscotteria production had increased significantly over the course of ten years but was still operating out of the original compact bakery facility in Belmont. The limitations of the kitchen and restrictions imposed by governmental agencies were starting to impinge on business growth plans, so Augustine Buonocore sketched out a design for his new, retail bakery. Architects were hired and blueprints drawn up - a new La Biscotteria would be built. In the spring of 2002, the small residential property that was situated on the future site of La Biscotteria was demolished and in July of 2002 surveyors marked the property lines and staked the foundations of the New La Biscotteria.
The all-new La Biscotteria bakery is located in Redwood City, the hometown of its owner and founder, Augustine Buonocore. The business continues to operate as a wholesale bakery but the mystique of the commercial oddity had been dispelled - in October 2003 the exquisite etched glass door opened to the public. In planning for the future, Augustine took the necessary steps to create and launch the La Biscotteria website in January 2005. LaBiscotteria.com is capable of handling both wholesale and retail sales.