He turned his family name into a strong point to communicate the brand. He took his grandmother’s old cannolo recipe out of the drawer and put his distinctive feature and guarantee seal on it: a red chocolate button. This is how “Bottone, elegante nel gusto” was set up in 2015. The idea came from Alfonso Bottone, aged 29 from Ragusa, who started to make his own cannoli in his kitchen with pure love for traditions. Alfonso has clear ideas about the ingredients to use: only genuine and local ones, coming directly from the Hyblean Mountains. Within few months, the start-up registered the first online orders. The Bottone cannoli are shipped in the entire peninsula from the laboratory in Via Mario Leggio, and such success goes beyond any expectation. When Alessandro joins his brother Alfonso, the two inaugurate a new show room in Milan, a boutique of taste in order to “build together – the Bottone brothers explain – a family history and new ways of experiencing our beloved tradition”.
Where did the idea come from?
My friends encouraged me during my years in the States and then in London. As it happens with every young Sicilian abroad, my grandmother used to periodically send me a bag full of delicacies and specialities of our region, including her delicious homemade ricotta cannoli. My friends always wondered about the tastiness and genuineness of such tidbits, but the cannoli actually went like hot cakes. So I thought: why not going back home and start a new activity? I started to prepare cannoli with my grandmother, and one day she told me “honey, you can manage on your own now!”
Your family has been in the perfume business for three generations. Where does the passion for desserts come from?
The entrepreneurial spirit is part of our DNA. We sold the company ten years ago, but the memories of the “Profumerie Bottone” are still alive, also thanks to my grandfather Alfonso, a charismatic man with gentle and affectionate manners. As he did years ago, today I hope I will be able to leave a different, unforgettable scent: the scent of cannoli Bottone, a family brand.
Why is your cannolo different?
Our cannolo has always been made at home with local top quality products. I prepared the first cannoli with natural tubes where the dough was wrapped around; they are not used anymore, and I found them in grandma’s sideboard.
From Sicily to Milan. Are you going to inaugurate new branches or do you rely on online sales?
Thanks to my brother’s cooperation, we were able to think a bit bigger. Milan is in the centre of Europe where many young start-ups are launched. Our aim is to open new branches both in Italy and abroad, but keeping the production in Ragusa and continuing to use top raw materials.
Will the Red Button be exclusive seal of Sicilian cannoli?
Currently, there are two products featuring the red button: the cannolo, our leading product, and the single portioned Sicilian cassata, but we are working on new products, so to offer a wider range.