Hello Maurizio, presented to our readers and tell us a little 'in general as you have become a spirits producer.
Ciao Martina! My name is Maurizio Belfiore, I am 30 years old and since I was a kid I have always dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur with the objective of enhancing the wonderful products of my splendid land and so, after graduating in business school, I decided to create AmaCardo Sicily S.R.L. together with my two partners Andrea Messina and Angelo Romeo.
Would you describe your land: Sicily?
Sicily is a unique land, rich in traditions, an unspoiled island of scents and flavors. To describe Sicily I take up a famous phrase by Carmen Consoli, Sicilian singer:
“Sicily is a gift from God, there are places you can not imagine, at the end of a road you come across an amphitheater made of lava stone, and if you go up on Etna and see the sea, well, then you understand why those who know Sicily are in love"
The hallmark of AmaCardo is to use, in the production of spirits, Cardo Selvatico, would you tell us more about this botanical? How did you think about using it in the production of liqueurs and distillates?
The idea of creating liqueurs based on this small wild artichoke (Cynara Cardunculus Sylvestris) comes from my partner Angelo, as collector and connoisseur of wild plants. Ever since he was a boy he dreamed of inventing a way to exploit this botanical whose leaves and rhizomes contain important active ingredients (including cinarina) that have tonic, digestive and diuretic properties.
Would you give us some historical mention of the AmaCardo company? Does it come from a long tradition?
AmaCardo does not stem from a long tradition but it is a start-up founded three years ago in April 2015 with the intention of exporting the Sicilian culture in the world making known this little wild artichoke that grows only in the hilly areas around Etna volcano.
Could you briefly describe the production process that gives birth to your bitter products: Amaro di Carciofino Selvatico dell'Etna and Amaro di Carciofino Selvatico with Arancia Rossa?
The individual phases of Amaro di Carciofino Selvatico dell'Etna production process are strictly artisanal. We outsource production in one of the oldest Sicilian liquor laboratory to which we supply the main raw material. It all starts with the process of infusing the small wild artichoke into tanks full of alcohol, a process that lasts six months. Then we add a minimum amount of sugar and special botanicals that grow around Etna volcano. For our Amaro di Carciofino Selvatico with Arancia Rossa in addition to the infusion of wild artichokes and herbs, we add an aroma of red orange peel. We also produce a grappa with wild artichoke, whose base is a single-vine distillate of Nero d'Avola grape, to which is added the wild artichoke infusion, but to make it even more fascinating, we insert a small wild artichoke inside each bottle.
Which botanical and herbal elements are mainly used in the distillery for the production of your amari?
The main botanicals used in our recipes, beyond the wild artichoke and Sicilian blood oranges symbols of our fantastic land, are herbs carefully selected and hand harvested around the Etna volcano including cinchona and cloves.
The latest U.S.A. beverage trend is amari consumption. What do you think of this trend that is slowly becoming global and how you see your products placed in the amaro world: as a digestive or as an ingredient for a cocktail?
Today has increased the consumption of bitter thanks to the growing interest of our younger consumers in advanced mixology, so we are abandoning the tradition of drinking amaro exclusively after meals. Surely this trend born in the U.S.A. slowly it is spreading globally and it was time! Our AmaCardo Red and AmaCardo Black are positioning themselves in Amaro world as digestives but also as cocktail ingredients and, Flavio Giamporcaro, bartender from Palermo has created "AmaCardo Mixology" which contains several cocktail proposals with our two bitter products.
Do you have already planned new objectives for the near future? Will you surprise us with some new creations?
Of course, I have so many business ideas that affect the valuation of my land, but it is too early to talk about it!