Behind the Scenes at the Mattei Biscuit Factory

Stories of Passion and Tradition

Behind the Scenes at the Mattei Biscuit Factory

This month, I sneaked behind the scenes at the Mattei Biscuit Factory and did a bit of "stalking" on the office and production workers, asking them about their favourite Mattei products, what they love preparing the most, and if they have a "sweet" memory to share. Here's what I discovered...

Claudio, who has been working at the Mattei Biscuit Factory for 41 years, started by assisting Maria and Lucia (the saleswomen) in the shop, then moved to production. His favourite process is making Brutti Buoni, which he confesses is also what he excels at the most! His favourite product is the Glacé Cherry Loaf.

Behind the Scenes at the Mattei Biscuit Factory

Beatrice has been with us for 40 years and shares with Claudio the seniority and love for the Glacé Cherry Loaf. Her sweetest memory is connected to our father (Paolo Pandolfini). "Buongiorno Dottore!" is how she used to greet him every morning. She says, "My old boss has a special place in my heart from when he would come to the shop and say to me, 'darling, will you accompany me to the garage to get my car?" – Because after his stroke, our father didn't walk very well.

Marco on the other hand has been with us for 23 years. He was just a young lad when he started working in production at the Mattei Biscuit Factory (he had to start at 6 am). Every evening, he would go out and sometimes come straight to work from the nightclub. He shares a memory: "At first, it was tough! Mauro used to call me because I didn't show up for work and he would wake me up in the morning... once I found 28 missed calls because I had fallen asleep in the car!! But I was young! Now I work in packaging, my favourite department!". Precise and orderly, he's responsible for incoming orders, and while he's changed a lot in 20 years, his tastes haven't! He still loves the Glacé Cherry Loaf.

Maurino works in production, he's the first to arrive every morning; when I asked him, What's your favourite product to prepare? Maurino promptly replies, "the Mantovana Cake without a shadow of a doubt! I love seeing the butter mix and, above all, smelling it—it's intoxicating, extraordinary!"
The classic Almond Biscuits and Antonio (a former employee no longer with us) are tied to his first and dearest memory, Antonio taught him how to make the biscuit dough and 'throw the dough' – put the biscuit dough into the machine to portion the loaves. His favourite product is the newest one from Mattei: the Chocolate Cake.

Behind the Scenes at the Mattei Biscuit Factory

Micaela has been at the biscuit factory since 2007. She took over from Renza, who taught her how to check the biscuits on the conveyor belt; hundreds of biscuits pass in front of her every day! She's very talented and reliable, although she admits to struggling a bit with the monotony of her task.
Her favourite department is production, where she learned to make Pan di Ramerino and the Glacé Cherry Loaf. Her favourite processes are those regarding the Loaf (obviously!) and the Mantovana Cake.

Marco and Alessio are the newest additions to production, attentive and passionate about the various tasks entrusted to them. Both of them love making Toasted Brioches. Marco adds, "The most precious memory is the team, it’s very solid! I was impressed by the work team, especially during December" when the biscuit factory's workload reaches its peak.

Vania and Cristina work side by side in the office, but I discovered that the huge desk isn't the only thing they share; both of them are also lovers of the Glacé Cherry Loaf. Vania confides, "I tried Brutti Buoni and the Mantovana Cake for the first time during a Christmas family lunch; they were in a box given to my dad by a friend. I remember not wanting to try the Loaf because I didn't like candied fruit. But when I started working at the Mattei Biscuit Factory, I was told that I couldn't explain a product I had never tasted... and from that day on, the Glacé Cherry Loaf became my favourite product... discovering that these (as everyone says) are not 'ordinary' candied fruits, meaning they're also liked by those who generally don't eat them."

"It's hard to choose..." Cristina replies, "but off the top of my head, I'd say the Glacé Cherry Loaf! It's a unique sweet, and we're the only ones who produce it... and I would also tie my memory to the same sweet... "Like in almost all Prato families, there were often Mattonella sweets (the nickname of the Biscuit Factory) at the end of lunch on Sundays... and I didn't like the Glacé Cherry Loaf at all back then (even though I felt bad because everyone else liked it!). Instead, my older sister and I used to compete to find the ends of the biscuits we both liked in the bag..."

Behind the Scenes at the Mattei Biscuit Factory

Angela has been at the biscuit factory since 1999 in the sales office. She tells us that "before coming to the Mattei Biscuit Factory, I had never eaten a Prato Biscuit, and I had never even been to Mattonella! very uncharacteristically Pratese, so it was a discovery for me at the ripe age of 25!! And my favourite product is Brutti Buoni, especially freshly baked, piping hot, just Beautiful & Good! A memory I hold dear is the joy of my in-laws when I used to bring them the Mantovana Cake for lunch. The product I enthusiastically propose (obviously in the commercial channel) is the undisputed leader, the classic Prato Biscuits... for me, it has no rivals!" The blue bag I want to thank all the Biscuit Factory workers for agreeing to the interviews.

But I can't close this blog without giving the floor to Mauro Barzagli.

Mauro has been with us since 1972; he's been retired for some time now, yet in recent years, he has continued to be with us. When asked, What's the first product you learned to make at the Biscuit Factory? At first, he responds a bit gruffly, "How can I remember the first product I learned to make here! I was just a kid!". 

But then... his gaze softens a bit, and I manage to extract some information from him, he has always spoken sparingly with little or no words!

Behind the Scenes at the Mattei Biscuit Factory

And so, he tells me that when he started working at the Mattei Biscuit Factory "Riccardone and Dorando made the biscuit dough; whereas Orlandi oversaw the Brutti Buoni dough, and Bettarelli removed the Almond Biscuit strips from the trays that came out of the oven. "It's from them and from your uncle Renzo that I learned everything I know." I also asked him which process he liked the most, and he said, "Almond Biscuits and the Mantovana Cake, no doubt!" 

To you, dear Mauro, who has lived inside here much more than us, who has set us your example, dispensed your advice... to you, Mauro, goes our greatest THANK YOU!

We don’t need too many words to express all our gratitude for your dedication, loyalty, and affection shown over all these years to the company, to us, and to our father before us.

To you... who doesn’t like words! Do you?

Letizia Pandolfini