Mandorlato and Santa Mavra pastelli

From Best Practices WIKI
Greece Region of the Ionian Islands Prefecture of Lefkada
Lefkada.jpg
Municipality LEFKADA
Sector: Agro-alimentary
Product Name “Mandorlato” - Almond cake “Santa Mavra pastelli” - sesame seed and honey pastry


Basic Information

Company details
Organization name: Laboratorio tradizionale “Santa Mavra” G. Gràpsas & N. Thèrmos”
Contact: G. Gràpsas & N. Thèrmos
Address - City: P. Filippa 18 - 31100 Lefkada – Regione delle Isole Ionie
E-mail: sweets@otenet.gr
Phone: (0030) 26450 26596
Fax: (0030) 26450 22868
Contact address: P. Filippa 18, Lefkada

Description of Best Practice

In which field can you company consider itself an example of best practice?
Marketing and Communication Strategies
Brief history of the Pilot Action
Description of the ideas behind the development of this action/project; the initiator(s) of the action/project; the involvement of local partners
(LAG, project operators etc.) in the conception/development of the action/project;how this action/project is embedded in the territorial strategy.
No associations for the promotion of almond cake or typical local products have been created. Here everyone acts independently of
others, because they fear competition with producers of similar agroalimentary products. We are still at the “declaration of intent”
stage.
In so far as concerns the recognition of almond cake and “pastelli” as DOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin) this is impossible,
given that the sesame seeds used need to be imported.
Main activities of the action/project Indication of the main activities planned and carried out, including where and when they took place, and who carried them out (indicating the local operators).
The main initiative carried out in the production of “pastelli” and “Santa Mavra” almond cake is represented by the use of mechanical
machines. Clearly we have maintained the traditional system of production.
We have also emphasised the improvement in quality of our “pastelli” and almond cakes, and for this reason we only use honey (in
contrast to the producers of the past who used glucose on the basis that it was easier to work). We have also updated the classic
packaging, and our products are now available in different types of packaging of various colours and shapes.

Qualitative Information Regarding the Product

Describe the area of production
Are there specific resources that characterize your area of reference? Are they agro-alimentary resources or products of handicraft? Are
there interdisciplinary and inter-territorial integrations that confer an added-value to the product?
“Pastelli” have been present in the Greek diet for thousands of years, and in the Christian era it became the main sweet used during
periods of fasting. Furthermore, “mandorlato” is the sweet that was brought to the Ionian islands by the Venetian conquerors at the
start of the second millennium. This latter sweet was immediately a success, and was adopted by our tradition. “Pastelli” and
“Mandorlato” represent the main types of sweet eaten during festivals, given that in the past there weren’t any others. The
combination of honey and sesame seeds also provides a large quantity of energy, iron and other elements, vegetable fibres, vitamins
etc. The area of Lefkada also produces a honey of extraordinarily good quality ,”l’Athanìou”.
In so far as concerns the second part of the question, in our area there is no type of interdisciplinary or inter-territorial integration.

Product Description of its Relationship with the Market

This part of the questionnaire will cover the description of the product with the indication of the characteristics of the raw materials used, and
of the eventual phases of transformation. Please describe and underline, in the description the specific nature of the product and the
production process which differentiates it from other product that fall into the same typology.
Describe the characteristics and the origin f the main raw materials used
In the production of “pastelli” we use honey, sesame seeds, almonds and a bit of sugar. We also produce “pastelli” completely
without sugar. For the “mandorlato” we use the following ingredients: egg white, honey, almonds. The almonds of the “mandorlato”
are roasted in honey.The particularity of “Santa Mavra mandorlato” is owed to the fact that only pure “Athanìou” honey, produced in the area of Lefkada, is
used. In other words, we don't add any other types of sweetners such as fructose or glucose as occurs in other companies
manufacturing "pastelli” and “mandorlato”.
The cooking time of our product is at the same time different from that of other producers, and changes according to the season.
“Mandorlato” must be soft, and when hit against a hard surface must break into bits – only when this happens is the product truly
fresh.
Describe the production process, and the techniques and methodologies used during processing
If the product presents distinctive characteristics in terms of quality, raw materials, techniques and methods of processing, briefly describe.
In the production of the “pastelli” we observe the following procedure: We roast the sesame seeds in an oven, cook the honey and
then mix the two ingredients. We then add the almonds and spread the batter on to a surface and cut it into the dimensions desired.
To make the “Mandorlato” we whisk the egg whites until they become a meringue, cook the honey and then mix the two ingredients,
cooking it once more. We also add almonds.
Both for the “pastelli” and the “mandorlato” we only use pure honey of local production and no other type of sweetener. We are also
different from other producers in terms of the cooking times used when cooking our products.
Specify any variations in the product in relation to the different areas and typologies
(E.g: ………in the area of this Municipality ………….. one uses olives that are treated in a different way than in other bordering
Municipalities………………..etc.)
On Lefkada, as I have already said, there is produced a honey of extremely high quality (“Athanìou”), which gives “Santa Màvra”
products a unique flavour.
Describe how the product is presented on the market (state the brand or describe the pack used)
(E.g: “Pane d’ Altamura”(Bread from Altamura) is packaged inside......…... The dimension o f the bag is.... colour, etc ........)
The “mandorlato” and the “pastelli” are available in different types of packaging:
a) in plastic packaging, with on the outside the “Santa Mavra” label and the emblem of the island (Pegasus) – containing 6 small
packets.
b) in a wooden box with the name of the company “Santa Mavra” stamped on it, which also contains 6 small packets.
c) in cloth bags of various colours.
More precisely “mandorlato” is sold in packets of 50, 150 and 200 grams. “Pastelli”, which are heavier, are available in packets of 40,
200 and 280 grams.
Almonds are sold in plastic bags that are tied with multi-coloured ribbons, in packs of 100 grams.
We should specify that the people of Lefkada are accustomed to offering local wines along with “pastelli” or “mandorlato” when we go
to visit the houses of friends.
Describe the product’s market outlets and its diffusion locally, nationally and internationally
The majority of our product is sold on the local market, while a third is sold in the capital from where it is then distributed to the rest of
Greece.
The product is sold:
Only on the local market
(municipality/province/region) 60-70 % of total sold
Also outside regional borders 30-40 % of total sold
State the sales channels used when marketing the product
(More than one ansie is possible: state (or estimate) the percentage of product sold by each canne)
Modern distribution (supermarkets/ ipermarkets) 10 %
Retail /Specialized shops 80 %
Direct Sales 10 %
During the process of company improvement aimed at promoting products locally and Europe-wide have you created a
marketing plan?
We haven’t created a particular plan for the promotion of our products, since our production is not huge and is consequently easily
absorbed. We have in any case publicised our company in the local press and in one or two national magazines.
How much did it cost to take forward this best practice? In terms of cost, time and resources?
Specify length, starting date, end, etc.
Modernising our machines began in 2003 and was completed the year after. In total it cost about 80.000 euro.
Concrete outputs and results of the action / project
Competition when it comes to producing "pastelli” and “mandorlato” is very strong. In Greece there are maybe 40 companies that sell
the same product, some of which are very big. The fact that we have modernised our machines and that we use them more when
packaging the product has allowed us to increase production. We also do not use sweeteners as happened in the past, but only pure
honey. This brings added value to our product, and has an immediate consequence for our consumers, since we shouldn’t forget that
honey is a high quality foodstuff.
Problems encountered; lessons learned
Explanation of the main problems encountered, how they were solved and the lessons learned..
We haven't encountered any particular difficulties in the application of these Best Practices, and the process has been without doubt
an interesting experience. We are always seeking to improve and to apply new ideas, concerning both the product itself and its
presentation on the market
I must underline, however, the absence of a State institution for the certification of agro-alimentary products, above all those that
concern companies. At the moment there are only private foreign companies that award similar certificates. The cost for small
companies is high, and the regulations are modelled on foreign standards. In conclusion there is no type of regulation in favour of
small companies that might allow them to compete with greater ease with large industries. In this case state-assistance is
indispensable, and I think, like many of my colleagues, that the creation of an ad hoc Greek public body is indispensable. There also
needs to be special financial support for companies selling traditional products, and the people in charge should distinguish them
from large industries.
The added value of this best practice
...regarding the method, the process and the results. If carried out within a LAG (Local Action Group) describe the way in which Leader+ has brought a
clear added value.
Thanks to the use of local honey and cooking times that vary depending on the season we have managed to improve our product
and differentiate it from those of other producers that use sweeteners.
The packaging made of different materials (paper, wood) and of different colours (blue, pink etc.) make the “pastelli”, “mandorlato”
and almonds in which they are sold more appealing for the consumer, and particular for tourists who bring them as a gift for friends
when returning home. In this way the island is benefited as well, and gets known abroad.

Why this Action/Project is a Good Practice?

Area-based approach
This entails defining a development policy on the basis of an area’s own particular situation, in terms of its strengths and weaknesses.
One of the advantages of our area is that Lefkada is without doubt an island that lives substantially from tourism, although locals
support our product as well as they do in general with all local products. In particular “pastelli”, “mandorlato” and almonds are the
type of sweet that are most commonly offered in the houses of Lefkada, and that which is bought most often for parties and visits.
Consumption increases at Christmas and Carnival, although also in the Summer one notes a large demand, notwithstanding the fact
that these are products which are rather sensitive to high temperatures. Tourists know this product even before they arrive on the
island.
A negative factor is made up of the product’s transport costs, which since we are in the provinces are high.
Bottom-up approach
Both the Province and the Chamber of Commerce of Lefkada have sought to promote local products. The result, however, was not
as expected due to the mentality prevalent in the state sector. The bureaucracy blocks any type of decision-making and in general
doesn’t show any type of flexibility.
Approach aimed at promoting partnership
The majority of producers, even though they would wish for a co-ordinated effort in terms of commercial collaboration aimed at a
wider and more dynamic promotion of local products, hesitate to put this into practice, perhaps because they fear internal
competition. Previous attempts in this direction have unfortunately not had any result
Innovation
Even if the idea is innovative also the action should be innovative.
Use of pure Lefkada honey, different cooking times which make our “pastelli” and “mandorlato” more crunchy, attractive and practical
packaging, both for personal use and for presents.
Integrated approach
The actions foreseen are coordinated as coherent and integrated group.
In my opinion, yes
Creation of a network and cooperation between areas
So far no, even though it would be advantageous for everyone.
Transferibility
The action/project is transferable to other rural areas with similar geographical and economic characteristics
Yes, the production of “mandorlato” and “pastelli” could be exported to other areas so long as only pure honey used and they are
packaged in attractive and practical packaging. It is also necessary to consider that cooking times should vary depending on the
season, so that the sweet can be both maleable and crunchy.
Sustainability
Economic sustainability
The sector is clearly a vital one. We are looking at a strong return to healthier and traditional foods. “Pastelli” and “Mandorlato” are a
tasty and nutritious snack that we can always have with us.

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Interviewed
Name Eduardo Surname Fiorillo
Phone 0030 26610 49467
e-mail efiorillo@eftraduzioni.gr