I have seen many coin purses in my life. Many of them made by very experienced and skilled artisans. Then I saw the FERRO and understood what could be accomplished when you set out to make the best possible coin purse.
After years of wondering whether our customers would pay more to get the best coin purse in the world, we finally decided to show you what we think is the best coin purse in the world and let you decide if it is for you. You should first read about who Peroni is.
I think that the first goal was: “it has to work perfectly, every time.” I put all my change in the FERRO to test it, I closed it, and right there I was sold: this coin purse is designed to stay closed with ease! Next, “is it easy to open?” Yes, easy enough with the pull tab and the amount of force required is the same every time. Next, “do the coins come out of the purse and gather in the cover?” Definitely yes. Even though I had a lot of coins they all gathered in the cover and did not fall out. The coin purse hard edges give me the feeling that it will always operate like this and I can rely on it.
As I was testing the FERRO I could not help but notice how smooth and pleasant the leather was. I am a fan of vacchetta leather, which is very genuine and somewhat raw, but to accomplish this kind of precision in a product you need leather that is smooth and precise. You too will be able to smell and feel the unmistakable artistry of Florentine leather craftsmanship. Quality leather and Italian craftsmanship can be found in other products. What makes the FERRO coin purse stand out is its design. Using a single piece of leather and 37 production steps, the FERRO does not use any stitching.
So pick one up. I doubt that you will see anything else quite like it.
I did not mention this in my previous focaccia post: I really love focaccia because the bakery in the street where I lived in Milan made excellent focaccia and I spent a few summers as a young boy in Liguria, the region where focaccia originated, and I can still taste how good that focaccia was. This is why I am so determined to have awesome focaccia again. It used to be that anywhere you went in Italy would serve decent focaccia. That is no longer the case: even in Liguria, I have walked into bakeries that did not serve good focaccia. Like with all good things, I think that it should be preserved and I am trying to teach my kids how to make it (we’ll see if I am successful in a few years.)
I don’t want to call myself an artisan, because that is such an honorific (not horrific) title that only accomplished craftsmen deserve. But artisanship requires determination as you are most likely to fail at first. As you well know, I failed miserably on my first attempt that after a couple of weeks I decided to try again. I re-read the recipe, I compared it with my notes from my first attempt and decided to learn from experience this time. The dough turned out better (I kneaded it for longer), it was properly salted, I did use a higher temperature, and, most importantly, I did pour a string of olive oil on top of the dough before it went into the oven.
New Mistakes Or Learning Lessons
Unfortunately, I fell prey of a horrific habit of mine: when I like an ingredient I use too much of it. Because salt was very lacking during my previous attempt, not only did I increase the amount of salt that went into the dough, but I got a little happy sprinkling the sale grosso (large salt) on top of the dough spread out in the pan. The result was so salty that it was inedible. After scraping some of the salt I really enjoyed it but it was still too salty because it wasn’t possible to remove enough salt. Too bad! I had the top salt measured correctly the first time… Couldn’t I do the same thing?
Another thing that wasn’t ideal was the oven temperature. I used 420 Fahrenheit this time and tested it a little too soon. The crust was hard and the dough wasn’t fully cooked when I first cut it so I had to put it back.
What Will I Do Differently Next Time
It’s pretty obvious that next time I will use less large salt and will try to go back to 395 degrees for a little longer than 20 minutes. If that works I might be celebrating and you will hear about it 🙂
I am constantly trying to expand my Italian cooking horizon. When I try something new I usually fail and this time was no different. My lifelong passion for artisanally made products manifests itself at home with my desire to master Italian cooking. In particular, I love handmade pasta. But before I can deliver delicious creations I have to learn how to make them right, something that takes time and dedication.
Likewise, our very accomplished artisans, go through a similar cycle. A lot of sweat, blood, and tears accompany the introduction of a new product. And the first run sometimes is not the best and later variants surpass it in some way. That is the inevitable value of experience, and, when you think that Imperio Rossi has dedicated more than 50 years to making Murano glass, you realize that experience and dedication mean a lot.
Failure Is Simply Part of The Learning Process
Now, my focaccia was edible, but it was light years away from tasting like the focaccia I enjoyed growing up in Italy. I realized some mistakes and there are some changes I would consider next time. My mistakes were that I didn’t sprinkle the focaccia with a drizzle of oil before putting it in the oven, that I didn’t put enough salt in the dough itself, that I baked it for too long. Next time I am going to make a smaller batch so that I have less to eat in case it doesn’t turn out well. I am also going to knead it for longer after the dough has risen, and I might use a bit higher oven temperature. With these changes alone I expect a better result next time, but whether or not that is enough to make the perfect focaccia remains to be seen.
I have seen my artisans fail in the process of creating the perfect product. Some of the early Campomaggi wallets, for example, had a little too much character built in with credit card slots that were too tight for credit cards or shapes that were pretty far from rectangular. I have seen him make leather jackets that were absolutely awesome, but totally uncomfortable. We now have great wallets by Campomaggi, and I bet that some day we will have totally awesome leather jackets as well. Failure is simply part of the learning process.
Erase The Memory of Failure
What erases the memory of failure is trying again and again and finally getting it right. I am not going to give up on focaccia. Just like with my Tortellini Mantovani, I will eventually get it right.
And when I do get it right, it is going to be so awesome! And that awesomeness is my passion.
Lately, one bag has been catching my attention as I walk into the office every day: the PIOGGIA by Caterina Lucchi. The thought that comes to mind is: “I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.”
An Original Style?
Granted, I’m not a user of ladies handbags. But I do live and breathe Campomaggi and Caterina Lucchi handbags on a daily basis and Emi loves to wear them every day. Perhaps other designers have explored this exact style before and I am late to the party: even if that were the case, I would not be surprised if Caterina Lucchi’s version is quite original. Besides all these possibilities, I was impressed with the design and I continue to be. The braids are one-of-a-kind and very appealing to sight and touch.
The Artisanship is very remarkable, in my opinion, because it is not so easy to produce those braids, especially using buffalo (instead of cow) leather. When I pick it up and inspect it, the bag looks really well made.
The braids are the result of an intricate pattern of stitches that does not exactly look simple to accomplish, a testament to the skill of the artisans and to the creativity of the designer who came up with a doable way to accomplish it.
Caterina Lucchi uses buffalo leather from time to time. Italy has a growing population of buffaloes that arrived during the sixth century from central Europe and is concentrated around Naples (these are the buffaloes who produce the milk for mozzarella and scamorza affumicata). Italian buffalo leather is thicker, more solid, and more durable than our beloved vacchetta leather. For this reason it is a bit more complicated to work, but it yields a long lasting product. Caterina’s buffalo leather is still soft to the touch but does feel thicker and, consequently, stiffer than her calfskin products.
A Mature, Independent Personality
Caterina Lucchi is a wonderful woman. Her personality is very strong and loving. Like Emi and I, she can be around her husband a lot and get along. She can also go her own way with her brand, which is very innovative, unique, and vibrant. I know Emi loves her products, and apparently so does my little Chiara who is seven. She spent a week at the office last week when school was closed and she said she liked the PIOGGIA… Perhaps it is a sign that we are going to bump heads when she’s a teenager, but for now she still laughs at all of my jokes.
Watching artisans work is very impressive. But the discoveries begin once you have their creation in your possession for a while.
It usually happens at an unexpected time: something catches your attention and you investigate it. The last time it happened to me was when we had pulled out the Still Wet wall clock to take better pictures of it just a few days ago. After we took the pictures we set the clock down and moved on to something else. The next day, I stopped to look at the tag to make sure that it was made of resin like the rest of the clock and that it was not a strip of leather attached to the clock.
As I looked closely at the tag I noticed that the small cloth label (again, it looks like cloth but it is resin) to the side of the pocket has individually painted threads holding it in place that are beginning to show signs of wear and tear.
As I look at the picture of that detail right now, I ask: “am I looking at a pair of jeans? Or am I looking at something that looks like a pair of jeans?” I am very impressed with this clock, I have to admit it. I think it will end up at home somewhere near our laundry room.
Antartidee is not the only artisan that impresses me. This happens to me just about every time I let a product sit by me long enough. Some of the other most memorable moments that I have had and quickly come to mind include: inadvertently touching my Campomaggi bag and think that the leather is so alive; gazing into a piece of Paua jewelry a see the blue fade in and out; grabbing my Murano glass tumbler; watching Marco rejoice when I played our music boxes; and many more. The quality of exceptional handmade products keeps on giving over time. It is simply a pleasure.
Is there a Marcopoloni product that gives you joy? I, of course, would like to know. Also, if you are not signed up already, do so to find out more about our surprising details.
When Allison Williams with the Campbell Reporter set a time to come and interview us, Emi and I realized that we needed to get a few points across very clearly. We figured that Allison would want to know what drives us to be in our business. We have been trying to clearly define our brand, which we interpret as the expression of what we are about, for years now and it is still definitely a work in process.
One message that we have tried to communicate since the very beginning is that we are trying to preserve the way of the artisan. Personally, I grew up in Italy with the fortune of visiting every region by the time I was a teenager. In the process I drove through so many places and saw so many artisans at work and small shops creating wonderful goods that I feel that this artisanship is the fabric of the Italian way of life. When Italians don’t cut corners, the results are amazing. I expanded the saying “you are what you eat” with “and drink, breathe, and wear” because I really think that everything we experience affects our well being and I believe that it is worth it to make those experiences the best they can be.
That Italian way of life that gives us so many wonderful experiences is under the pressure of greed. When we figured out that there was money to be made by selling imitations that are the result of cutting corners at every corner, everybody started doing it. This has caused a great number of artisans to lose their jobs and the number of young apprentices to drop. I think that this is short-sighted because if we lose our artisanship we lose that artistic flair that got us here.
Allison did a very good just to capture our feelings. Read the full article here: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_26509143/campbells-marcopoloni-supports-artisan-craft