The secrets of Pastiglie Leone

The new Bottega of Corso Magenta in Milano

by Stefano Colombo
The secrets of Pastiglie Leone — Lombardia Secrets

That of the Leone Pastiglie is a story that has been celebrating the genius of Italian creativity for 165 years: the allure surrounding this brand was born from two great marketing intuitions that were truly revolutionary for the time.

It is 1857 when Luigi Leone understood the market potentials of the digestive tablets that his father, preparing them at home with the most easily available spices such as mint and cinnamon, used to offer to customers at the end of the meal in his osteria in Neide, in the province of Alba.
It is the era in which medicinal preparations, such as bitters or digestives, “come out” from the pharmacies where they were created to embrace the growing public that used to attend restaurants, cafes, and bars.

The secrets of Pastiglie Leone — Lombardia Secrets
The secrets of Pastiglie Leone — Lombardia Secrets

Luigi opens his first candy shop which he soon moves to the center of Turin, driven by the great ferment that was developing around the confectionery industry thanks to the presence of the Savoy family (the dynasty that ruled the house of Italy from 1861 to 1946) in the city. Benefiting from lower duties for sugar, cocoa and coffee compared to other areas of Italy and from a great demand linked to the many court activities, the Savoy family had, in fact, favored the birth of this sector, of which Piedmont is still a leader today.

Luigi, thanks to the quality of his product, became the official supplier of the Royal House, thus increasing the spread of his tablets among the nobility of the time who could afford these delicacies.

The secrets of Pastiglie Leone — Lombardia Secrets

Society in those years is changing rapidly, the upper class moves its social gatherings from the royal court and noble residences to find themselves in squares and cafes, and sugar, the base raw material of the tablets, becomes less expensive thanks to the birth of the first factories for the extraction of beet. Thus Luigi has the second, great intuition: around 1880 he invents the pocket tin boxes, finely decorated in Art Nouveau style, considering that until then candies were still sold exclusively in bulk, a packaging innovation that still today seals Pastiglie Leone’s undisputed myth.

The cardboard boxes will be born later, at the beginning of the 1900s, as a refill of the tin ones, painted in yellow with gold decorations, while the idea of pinting them in different ​​color dates back to 1999 when colored wrappers are used to distinguish the various flavors that were gradually launched in the market.
Today the limited and custom editions of the Leone Pastiglie have become a real cult, sought after by collectors and fashion lovers, such as the one created for the Orient Express, dedicated to Lupine III or, more recently, the one inspired by the Martini Rosso flavor.

The secrets of Pastiglie Leone — Lombardia Secrets
The secrets of Pastiglie Leone — Lombardia Secrets

In addition to the legendary Pastiglie, whose recipe has remained unchanged over time based on ingredients of the highest quality such as essential oils and spices, reaching over 40 flavors, there are many other products for which the Piedmontese company is very renowned such as fruit jellies, gummy sweets, licorice, and the finest chocolate like the delicious Grezzo Leone.

All these delicacies can be purchased in the new Bottega Leone, a temporary shop opened in Milan in Corso Magenta 96 in the splendid Palazzo Laugier, an icon of Milanese Art Noveau style, and born from the collaboration with Raw&Co Milano and the Paolo Badesco & Partners interior studio.

The secrets of Pastiglie Leone — Lombardia Secrets

The coolest trends to buy in the Bottega? Vintage flavors such as Cedrata Tassoni, Violet and Absinthe to keep in your bag and the maxi tin boxes used by the coolest flower designers in Milan as ultra-chic flower holders (in the photos).

For further info

Pastiglie Leone

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