February is all about heart! Love, friendships and all things goodness brings us to this month’s client spotlight. Pastry Chef Carlo Raciti, a 3rd generation Sicilian baker, and his wife Rebecca Bechara opened Almotti five years ago. Since then, bringing handcrafted, preservative and gluten-free gourmet delicacies from Southern Italy to Miami customers, and beyond.
Born into a family of bakers, Chef Carlo began his work in the kitchen from a young age. Eventually turning his innate talent and passion into a successful business abroad. Unique to Almotti is their all-natural baked goods offering healthy treats that are reminiscent of Chef Carlo’s Italian roots and traditions.
“Palante! Always look forward.”Carlo Raciti, Pastry Chef & Founder, Almotti
What brought you to Miami to continue your tradition?
I visited the U.S. looking for new opportunities where I could share a taste of Sicily. During a trip to Miami, I met my wife Rebecca. As our romance bloomed into a family, it all came together. I love to bake, and she is great at operations.
We realized the craving here for preservative-free, freshly baked, healthy treats. So we moved to Italy and I furthered my culinary skills at the Chef’s Academy, training with skilled local and international chefs. We later moved to Miami and opened Almotti. Starting small we grew our business by bringing the highest quality baked goods.
When scaling your business, how do you maintain the high quality of your products?
We pride ourselves on handcrafted products. So rather than machines for scale, it’s about building the team. In order to preserve quality, we bake our products in small batches every week. And it’s all hands on deck! My own passion for baking, I transcend that to our team members. Building a team that carries out the vision takes some tries. But we have an amazing group that is part of our process and proud to reflect on the success together.
What have you found is different here than in Italy; from running your business to your product offerings?
Here in the U.S., our products are seen as a delicacy because they are more unique. In Italy where I’m from, pasta di mandorla, known here as Italian macaroons, are seen everywhere. But here, we can offer something different that is crafted by hand and appeals to our customers who seek preservative and gluten-free gourmet baked goods. They also taste great!
Your products are wholesome inside and out. Tell us about that.
All our products are sought locally to offer the freshest ingredients. This is how I grew up, eating all-natural food straight from our farm which my mother would prepare. We truly have a love and commitment to bring our customers the best, all-natural baked goods. Whether its in our cookies, cakes or any of our products.
Also, we don’t use any artificial coloring, chemicals or preservatives. For us, going back to basics and having the right nutrients in our baked goods is key. We are also able to minimize our packaging needs and use eco-friendly materials.
What is your personal or professional motto?
It’s very simple, “Palante! Always move forward.”
What is your personal favorite Italian delicacy here at Almotti?
It really depends on the day and the mood. When sitting with friends in conversation with wine and cheese, the guava cookie is the perfect complement. Sometimes I prefer a sweet treat that goes with my coffee and choose the croccante. Other times, I’ll want to feel like a kid again. I choose the chocolate chip and dunk them in milk. We have an Almotti for every occasion.