Here is the complete interview
Matteo, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in my grandfather’s vineyards in Italy, where days were marked by the rhythms of agriculture. Art, design, and anything with an aesthetic identity has always fascinated me; the connection between these two worlds is a small forgotten family field that produced nothing.
I thought of saffron, which is not a typical cultivation for our area, but that seemed to grow well in that particular composition of so little fertile soil. It is the most expensive spice in the world, and is often referred to as “red gold”; The stories of merchants and artists who fell in love with the spice are endless.
Everything in life starts with the unknown but the spice that grows in that land is extraordinary and I know I wanted to share it. However, I wanted to make the spice easy to use for everyone, not just for a professional chef. The idea that came to be is called Lingotto di Zafferano, a saffron bar that can be grated on any dish you can think of, from appetizers to desserts, on ice cream, snacks or cocktails.
One day I got a message on Instagram from the director of Éclat, a PR agency in Los Angeles. She told me that the product seemed interesting and that it could be very appreciated in the States. Hanane (the director) and I have since become friends, and today there are so many events in which we have collaborated together. We have lots of ideas and projects in the pipeline for Los Angeles and for the United States that we cannot wait to share.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, it has not been a smooth road, indeed it has been an uphill battle and it still is! I created a brand and with it, a product never seen before on the market. So, I need twice as much energy and twice the resources.
Tell us more about your business.
In Italy, we cultivate the spice that is used in the Lingotto di Zafferano, which is the product we are known for.
Also in Italy, the saffron is processed, ground and mixed with melted cocoa butter which, when poured into the molds, takes the form of an ingot. Every single operation, from the collection of saffron flowers to the packaging of the finished product, is performed by hand and respects the highest quality of standards.
Our products are completely plant-based and vegan-friendly.
How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
For me, success is the esteem and respect that people have for you, not for what you have but for who you are. They value your genuine kindness and know that you are a person who they can trust blindly because you don’t make promises you cannot keep.