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Is Lavazza really Italian?

Midnight tonight sees the close of the Lavazza Wimbledon #CoffeeSetMatch challenge.  My three competitors and me can down tools for a while until we find out who has been lucky enough to be catapulted into the final with a chance of winning two tickets to the Wimbledon final and a trip for two, on Lavazza, to Turin.  So far, we are all winners as Lavazza has very generously gifted each contestant with a supper duper shiny sparkly brand spanking new A Modo Mio coffee machine specifically designed for Wimbledon.  Well, what with them being the main sponsor and all!

We’ve seen the recipes, we’ve tasted the cakes and we’ve downed the drinks but what do we actually “know” about Lavazza? That its Italian, yes.  That they are a brand of coffee, yes. That they produce coffee, well of course, yes, but not in Italy.

Let me fill you in on a few facts before sharing with you some of my own very treasured and very personal coffee experiences.

Lavazza was founded in 1895 in Turin Italy by Luigi Lavazza.  The brand started in a small grocery store and today, as the fourth generation of the Lavazza family continues to run and expand the brand, it is known world-wide.  I wonder what Luigi would think about that?!

Whilst 16 out of 20million families in Italy prefer Lavazza as their coffee of choice, it is distributed to approximately 80 countries around the globe.

In 2008, Lavazza stretched as far afield as India when it bought the entire Indian coffee market by buying out the Chennai based Sterling Infotech Group, that which runs the chain Barista.

In an attempt to promote sustainable agriculture, protect the environment and working conditions of employees, Lavazza developed the !Tierra! coffee brand, now known as the coffee that represents the sustainable agriculture programme.

Lavazza imports its coffee from several countries; Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Vietnam and Uganda to name but a few.

Colombia is now where I want to take you – come with me for a coffee on a trip down memory lane!

Some years ago, when I was younger and carefree, I quit my job and headed off into the sunset with my closest friends.  One friend convinced us to go to Colombia to meet up with friends of an ex-boyfriend of hers.  CRAZY! Colombia – its dangerous! NO WAY! Yet, with a little convincing and a lot of dutch courage, we found ourselves on a plane across the Amazon from Manaus in Brazil to Bogota in Colombia.

Dangerous? Are you kidding me? It’s as safe as houses.  Colombia is the most beautiful surprise.  In fact, I’ve been 3 times! The people are amazing, the food is to die for, the scenery is breath taking, the beaches are phenomenal and the coffee… well, the coffee is abundant!

After partying hard in Bogota, we headed on an over night bus to Periera.  At least 8 hours into the mountains through the night and then some more.  When we woke, we were surrounded by lush green plantation fields filled with little red berries as far as the eye could see.

Let me share with you some of the pictures I took of coffee in its most natural form.  This Ladies and Gentlemen, is how Lavazza coffee starts its life cycle:

The plantation fields of Periera

And all those lovely little red berries is indeed coffee!!

As pure as the day they were born.

When Lavazza was only a child, growing up in its small grocery store in Turin, Colombian coffee transporters were travelling for days by donkey and horse to deliver beans.  This tradition dates back more than 400 years.  The bag in this picture, carried across the body of the man, is known as a Carriel.  The bags are known to contain at least 50 secret pockets in which they carried on they journey the following: to protect, the claw of a large animal; to entertain, a pair of dice and a deck of cards as well as a love letter from a sweetheart.

 As you do on holiday, I hooked up with a friend of my friends ex, (not the guy in the photo above, I hasten to add, that was purely to explain how coffee was transported in Colombia back in the day!), whose parents had their own coffee plantation on their Finca (farm house) in Arbelaez, about 3 hours outside of Bogota.  On my second trip to Colombia, I went to stay at the Finca just at the time when the coffee beans were drying out in the sun, before they were to be roasted.

(Let me add that my third trip to Colombia was to the wedding of my friend and her ex! And we all lived happy ever after… all say aaarrhhhhh *big smiles*).

They look almost like peanuts, not like coffee at all.

Ah, now they look a bit more like coffee, with that distinctive coffee bean line.

 So you see, Lavazza might have been born in Italy, it might have an Italian heart but the truth is that its soul comes from where ever the coffee bean grows.

Now, after so many words about coffee, let the taste do the talking…. Lavazza!

 To see a modern range of Carriel bags, please visit CarrielUK.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Independents Day: Carrieles de Colombia

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that sometimes I daydream about starting my own business.  It’s the ‘what to do’ that holds me back.  I just don’t think I have an eye for niche spotting.  That doesn’t stop me being interested in others that do and most probably, I look to them for inspiration in the hope that one day my daydreaming will pay off and I’ll have a Eureka moment.

So when I discovered that Karen from All About the Boys was holding a new linky I had to get involved.  Independents Day is a once a month shout out to support hard-working independent businesses.  So rather than feeling like a small fish in a big pond, Independents Day is aiming to make a splash and help get these businesses the recognition we think they deserve.

I know a lovely lady who had a Eureka moment.  She’s smart, she’s gutsy, she’s determined.  She also happens to be one of my closest friends.

So without further ado, let me introduce Carrieles de Colombia, the brainchild of Becky, born and bred right here in Blighty, and her Colombian husband Mauricio. Having been to Colombia three times myself, it is with heartfelt joy that I write this post, not only to alert the world about these amazing bags but also about from where they come. Colombia is a total surprise and long gone are its woes of the past. Colombia stands for totally fabulous people, food, dancing and style. It’s on the up but it is such a shame that more people don’t venture there. Forget Milan, forget Rome, Colombia has a style that the world is yet to witness and that is why Becky and Mauricio have done a fantastic job of bringing a little bit of Colombia to the UK!!

Every woman likes handbags, right? Well, let me tell you, every woman will LOVE these!!  I remember clearly the day I saw Becky’s bag.  A few years ago, a bunch of friends met at Embankment to watch the Marathon and there, on Becky’s left hand, sparkling in the sun was a beautiful Colombian emerald and diamond ring.  Mauricio had proposed the night before.  Hanging off her hip was an unusually trendy, cool bag that I had not seen before, “Congrats on the bling but WHERE did you get that bag??!”…

And so it seems I wasn’t the first and I definitely wont be the last to ask.  It is because of this that in 2011, Carrieles de Colombia was born.

The bags find their inspiration from the Colombian Carriel.  Dating back to over 400 years the Carriel is believed to be a version of a European bag that the Spanish colonisers would have taken with them to Colombia.  Best of all (and I love this bit!), in keeping with Colombian folkloric tradition, all of the Carriel bags contain a secret pocket which is used to keep a love letter from a sweetheart.

Becky discovered the bags on a visit to Cartagena and loved them so much that Mauricio bought one for her directly from the producer. Since stepping off the plane back in the UK, she has continuously received comments about the bag. It was this that led the couple to contact the producer in Medellin to discuss importing the bags to the UK. As well as their range of handbags, Carrieles have also honed in on the need for a unnique and original iPhone cover – I for one will be getting myself one of these little darlings!

After a few design tweaks they received the first batch of samples. The producer of the Carriel had never provided such an order as all bags are handmade and extremely intricate in design, some consisting of colourful stitching, animal hide and all are made of the highest quality leather.

The latest fashion statement in Medellín, Cali and Bogota, Becky used her background in PR to drum up some awareness of the bags and the result has been amazing!

To date, Carrieles have had press coverage in magazines such as In Style, Grazia and Elle with more due in Marie Claire.  Lest not forget that no other than Fearne Cotton is the proud owner of a Dona Becky Carriel! This is an outstanding accomplishment given that both Becky and Mauricio still have full-time jobs. They are working hard to push the brand forward and are planning a few pop-up events across London later this year.

They remain undefeated against their challenges (dealing with Colombians who don’t know British markets, shipping, taxes, generating publicity and generally finding the time) and are absolutely committed and dedicated to the belief in their company.  I’m sure it wont be long until they literally, have it in the bag!!

For more information on Carrieles de Colombia you can visit them at:

Web: http://carriel.co.uk/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CarrielesdeColombia

Twitter – @Carrielseuk

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Reviews

 

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