viale Vittoria, 4
36045 Lonigo (Vicenza)
Francesco Ballico has always known what he wanted. But now he’s as determined as ever to give the nth change to his career. This is thanks to a 1000 square-metre workshop, less than 1 km from the centre of Lonigo, in Vicenza, where under the shade of a tree-lined lane, his sweet refuge blossoms. It’s name is Il Chiosco.
The offer is perfectly divided between breakfast and snacks, pastries and chocolates. «I opened it in 1996. It was a tiny kiosk, made in wood, and then in cement, selling drinks. I kept the name but changed the container and its content», Francesco says with pride. He’s used to change.
Born in’62 in Lonigo (the Portinari brothers from La Peca are his cousins), he took his first steps in the ice cream shop that his dad Aldo ran in the village. Then he spent some twenty years in one of the beach resorts on the Lidi Ferraresi: in Pomposa. «A tourism destination where it was hard to focus on quality. After all, the season was short and it didn’t offer the right gratification». Young Ballico was satisfied. His role as an ice cream maker was not enough, he wanted to broaden his skills with pastry-making.
«It allows you to work all year round». So what then? He studied, and studied and studied. On books and through experience: in Conegliano Veneto, with Edoardo Battistuzzi, where he learnt the basics, acquiring experience. To this he added a few courses and lots of practice. «Indeed, you must live leavened products. You must make them, then make them again, and even throw away some. And then start again», Francesco continues. He doesn’t give up and conquers his Chiosco. Where mother yeast and leavened products are now a must.
But now it’s time for a new upgrade for this professional who has joined the Petra Selected Partners. He looks at the future with a precise goal: researching and experimenting, in the new big lab. Everything here is divided with great attention. «By now, it’s unthinkable to have a lab concentrated in just one room».
from Lombardy, she graduated in Literature and started working as a journalist. Then she changed direction, towards travels, food and wine. She now directs Fuori Magazine, the new editorial project of Petra-Molino Quaglia
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A few tips for buying a good panettone, with two suggestions by pastry chef Luca De Santi for a cream to complement this cake (opening photo by Lucca Cantarin)