Our history, in short

The origins of Icam date back to the mid-1940s, when the company’s founder, Silvio Agostoni, took over a small laboratory that produced sweets and desserts; using simple ingredients such as sugar, chestnut flour and a little cocoa powder, he came up with the 'Torta Montanina', the first real success of the new business.

1946 saw the start of the real story of Icam as a chocolate factory: the idea was to make what had hitherto been considered a luxury accessible to all families, by producing quality chocolate at an affordable price.

Icam immediately embarked on the challenging adventure of independent production, purchasing the raw materials directly at source, and to this day the company – still in the hands of the Agostoni family – has remained faithful to the principles and values of its founder, making a name for itself worldwide as one of the most authoritative business operating in the world of chocolate.

Thanks to its lengthy, sound experience in the professional channel (pastry, chocolate and ice cream makers), ICAM has put its skills and abilities to good use by developing the CiocoPasticceria range of products, specifically aimed at those who wish to feel like a “genuine pastry chef”, using reliable, top-quality products for their favourite desserts and sweets.

From plantation to chocolate bar

Today Icam is one of the few companies in the world able to guarantee complete control of the whole production chain: this challenging industrial approach allows us to achieve and maintain the very highest quality standards at every stage of the production process.

1. The plantation

The first to grow the cocoa plant were probably the Maya, who used the seeds to prepare an energy-giving, restorative beverage.
The plantations replicate the natural conditions necessary for the cocoa trees to grow; they are delicate plants that must not be subjected to direct sunlight or variations in temperature.

The habitat




70% Africa

17% Central and Latin America

13% South-East Asia

2. Cultivation

Just 1% of cocoa flowers will yield cocoa pods
There are three varieties of cocoa:


one tree produces:


cocoa pods per year

3. Harvesting and fermentation

One cocoa pod contains

30/40 seeds

Once the pods have been harvested, a series of fermentation processes take place: first alcoholic, then lactic and acetic.

Fermentation has three important functions:
• to remove the pulp.
• to prevent the seeds from germinating
• to create aroma precursors, i.e. those elements that during the following stages (roasting, conching, etc.) will determine the fragrance and flavour, as well as the fullness and complexity of the aromas typical of quality chocolate.

4. Drying and quality control

Dried in the sun for



Just like any other fine food, cocoa beans are subjected to painstaking quality controls.
When the sacks of beans arrive at the factory, they are unloaded and stored in silos.

This is where the chocolate production process begins.

5. Production

cocoa paste

The cocoa is cleaned to remove any foreign bodies; the subsequent selection process separates out the whole beans from the split ones, and the former move on along the production chain...

The beans are heated for about 100 seconds with radiant heaters at a temperature of about 400° to help remove the skin.

The beans are crushed into tiny pieces that take the name of meal, and the skin is removed.

The cocoa meal is “bathed” in water, to which – depending on the particular cases – potassium carbonate may be added to reduce the natural acidity of the cocoa.

The meal is roasted with hot air at a temperature of between 100° and 120°. The roasting process takes about 30 minutes, and must ensure the beans are toasted evenly so as to allow the development of the cocoa’s most noble aromas.

The meal is ground in a pin mill to turn it into what is known as cocoa liqueur or cocoa paste.

cocoa butter and cocoa powder

Hydraulic presses are used to extract the fatty part, i.e. the butter, from the cocoa paste; the dry part that remains is the cocoa cake.

The cocoa butter is passed through paper filters to catch any impurities.

The cocoa butter then undergoes a deodorisation process. A high-pressure jet of water is used to extract part of the volatile acids, in order to make the butter taste sweeter and less acidic.

The cocoa cake is chopped up first roughly, then finely and finally reduced to a powder. It is then ready to be packaged for sale.


The ingredients are selected and blended, with proportions varying depending on the recipe and the type of chocolate to be made; milk, white, dark, gianduja.

Large cylindrical refining machines crush and cut the chocolate mix into particles no larger than 18 micron.

Conching can take hours, and is carried out for a number of reasons:
• to create a perfect blend of the various components
• to reduce the acidic, astringent aromas
• to extract the residual humidity, which at the end of the process should not exceed 0.5-0.8%.
At this stage, a small amount of soya lecithin (0.3%) is generally added as an emulsifier to make the chocolate smoother, together with a tiny amount of vanilla to enhance the flavour.

Before being moulded, the chocolate paste must be subjected to a heat treatment known as tempering (8), during which the chocolate is first cooled to 26°/28° and then heated back up to 29°/32°. This is essential for the cocoa butter to solidify in a stable crystalline state in order for it to maintain the required shape once turned out of the moulds, a glossy appearance and a clean break without crumbling, as well as to ensure it keeps well.

Once tempered, the chocolate is poured into moulds for shaping into bars, pralines, eggs, etc. It is then solidified in large cooling tunnels, at the end of which it can easily be removed from the moulds.

The solid chocolate may now be wrapped and packaged in imaginative, eye-catching ways.