Who would have thought that an authentic little piece of Italy could find its home in the heart of Prague?
At Arte Bianca, an Italian bakery in the city centre, we met Giacomo, the head baker and the heart of the business. He readily opened his heart and his passion for baking to us.
Q: Let’s start by telling us a bit about yourself and what brought you to baking.
Giacomo: Hi! Of course, gladly. Baking has been my passion since I was a kid. I grew up in Sicily, Italy, where pastry plays an important role in everyday life. On every occasion or family celebration, focaccia, pizzas, breads, and other various delicacies were baked at home.
And even as a little boy, I enjoyed helping with the baking and getting my hands dirty with flour and dough. But before I got into baking, I went to college, majoring in occupational psychology. But during my studies, I earned extra money in the catering, and hospitality industry. I met a lot of professionals who passed on to me their passion for this baking craft.
Q: that sounds like a wonderful start. How did you get to Prague?
Giacomo: After I graduated from the University I moved to Prague to be with my girlfriend, started a family here, and have stayed here ever since. At the same time, there were a lot of job opportunities where I could start fulfilling my professional goals.
Q: What do you think is unique about the bakery at Arte Bianca?
Giacomo: What makes us unique is our dedication to traditional Italian recipes and quality ingredients. We bake our breads and pastries every day with love and care, and I hope you can see that in every bite. At the same time, we strive to bring creativity and modern touch to our sweets and pastries to satisfy the different taste preferences of our customers, while respecting the aforementioned traditions.
Q: What can we expect from Arte Bianca in the future?
Giacomo: We plan to continue to expand our offer and bring new goodies. We would like to become an even bigger piece of Italy in the city centre and offer our customers not only great pastries but also a place where they can feel at home.
We believe that good food brings people together and creates or awakens memories, and that’s what motivates us. In the future, we have ambitions to expand to other interesting locations where we feel there is potential.
Q: Giacomo, could you tell us a little more about how the recipes are created? Do you have a process for how you choose what to bake?
Giacomo: Of course! For me, the process of creating recipes is fascinating. I first look for inspiration from my Italian roots and traditional recipes. Then I try to find a way to give them a modern touch or a creative twist.
I’m lucky to always have great and imaginative people around me to give me inspiration, and together we experiment with different combinations of ingredients. The goal is to create something that will delight our customers while bringing us joy in the baking process itself.
Q: It is obvious that you live your work… What is the most important aspect of your work for you?
Giacomo: The most satisfying thing for me is to see how our customers react to our products. When I see the smiles on their faces and hear the words of appreciation, I know that our work is meaningful. For me, baking is not just a business, it’s a way for me to share my love of food and culture. And that’s something that fulfills me every day.
Q: Do you have a favourite product that you would recommend to our readers if they were to visit Arte Bianca?
Giacomo: That’s a tough question because we have so many great things to choose from! If you like sweets, I recommend our Cannoli. They’re little treats with ricotta or crema pasticciera that are just irresistible. If you like something savoury, our focaccia or ciabatta are delicious. But honestly, the best thing to do is to come and taste something for yourself. Everyone has different tastes, and we have something to offer for everyone.