ARTISAN ITALIAN CHOCOLATE
English Translation Below
Seduced by Grando’s pure Italian chocolate
Nancy Grando is the sweetest woman in town, and she is a real cioccolataia. She grew up surrounded by beautiful things, her father working in the fine jewelry industry as well as her husband Stefano Grando, native of Bassano del Grappa in Veneto region. But she was also surrounded by good things, since her grandmother was in the catering industry and prepared pastries, desserts, and sweets for big weddings. About three years ago, Nancy started to think of a possible gift with purchase for her husband’s customers, something that needed to be as beautiful and precious as his jewels. One of his ring collections was named Confetti. They were bands with gem stones of different colors, and from them Nancy drew the inspiration that changed her life. With a major in Product Design and a fascination with packaging, she began to imagine elegant boxes of sweets which soon evolved into a slightly different idea: chocolates.
She ordered samples from several U.S. companies, but they tasted way too sweet and didn’t meet the caliber of the mouthwatering Italian chocolate she and Stefano were used to. Therefore, she did some research and began to import the finest quality of cocoa beans roasted in Italy, a certified non-GMO, pure, and organic ingredient. As Stefano’s aunt is a chocolatier from Turin, Nancy had the opportunity to learn and reproduce her family recipes, while developing her own blend. The Italian cocoa that she buys needs to be tempered through a chemical process, therefore she studied for more than a year under the finest chocolatiers in the Country. “What makes the difference is that my beans are very rare. They come from equal opportunity farms in South America and the Caribbean, and taste like there was raspberry in them. Furthermore, all other ingredients are local and fresh, coming from farmers’ markets. I don’t use any prepared filling nor peanuts, but only almonds and gianduja. My chocolate is also gluten free and contains only half the sugar”, she reveals.
Nancy’s business has been growing ever since, thanks to the word of mouth and her charity activities to support the local community. She is involved with the l’American Heart Association, il Children's Hospital, Wounded Warriars, and she partakes in a number of events and festivals as a sponsor, such as the California Spirit Award and the Taste of Italy. She also gives chocolate cooking classes at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles. In her opinion, chocolate making can also have a social dimension by helping people to eat healthy and quality food, and protecting the environment. At present, she is working with a former UCLA head of environment studies with the ambition to establish her own benefit foundation. And as a matter of fact, scientific and medical research has demonstrated that high quality chocolate is good for diabetes and blood circulation, containing more antioxidants than blueberries. In addition, Nancy is also working with a friend who is in the nutraceutical sector to develop an advanced ingredient able to maximize the health benefits of her chocolate.
From a design point of view, many of her creations are custom made. Her first order was for 8,000 chocolate diamonds for a Valentine’s Day promotion. She was new in the business, so her husband and son helped her with the preparation and packaging. Another big project was for Academy Award winning producer Jon Landau, who commissioned her about 450 chocolate statues as Christmas gifts.
Considering the high quality and refined designs of her chocolate, Nancy intends now to focus on retail stores, gourmet shops, luxury hotels, and private corporations to expand her business. She has also obtained a license to sell wine under her own label, specializing in Nebbiolo and Arneis varieties produced in Santa Barbara from the same vines used in Italy. In Santa Barbara Nancy also found a friendly community that supports organic food, and a commercial kitchen where she produces her chocolate.
She is working hard to fulfill her dream to establish a chocolate shop and vineyard, offering premium wines to pair with fine Italian chocolate. "My mother once told me to go after my dreams, as if I failed I didn’t have them anyway before, and at least I tried."
Overview of Damonie Launch Party
California Spirit XXVII
For the 28th consecutive year, renowned chefs from Los Angeles’ best
restaurants have prepared their finest culinary creations at California Spirit.
The event will will feature exquisite cuisine, premium California wines,
live entertainment, and a spectacular live and silent auction.
California Spirit is Southern California's largest gala fundraiser benefiting
the American Cancer Society and has raised more than $14 million for the
Society’s lifesaving research, education, prevention and free patient services programs.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Benefit Ball
Each guest received a handmade Italian Chocolate Violin from Grando
Cioccolato that was music to their palates. The Italian Consul, along with
consuls from all over the world attended this event; which was hosted by
the beautiful and talented Italian actress Dina Morrone and her academy
award nominated beau. Kay Sidhu, this year's President of the Ball
reflected the elegance of the evening. Co-Chairs Mirella Ventress and
Francoise Balabanian's passion for music eminated throughout the event
making for a most memorable evening that was as musical as it was magical!
Italian Film Festival / Carnevale
Grando Cioccolato was honored to be invited to this special eventhonoring
the Italian film industry. Richard Harrison and his beautiful wife Francesca
came by to greet us while they had a chance to taste our authenticItalian
chocolates filled with amaretto, blood orange and limoncello! By the end of
the evening our serving plates were empty; while the Italians left behind
endless compliments while asking for more!
Celebration of the harvest
Santa Barbara Wine Association's Annual Harvest Festival featuring
approximately 100 wineries and food artisans.
History FAQ Recipes Shipping Testimonials Catalog Contact
Organic Ingredients traceable to the source.
Vegan (Select Chocolates)
Organic Criollo & Trinatario Cocoa Beans are harvested from Equal Opportunity Farms in South America and the Carribean
The Choice Cocoa Beans are roasted in Italy and ground into a 100% organic chocolate liquor.
Grando hand-crafts the Italian chocolate liquor into authentifc family recipes in Santa Barbara