History: The Past
Piedigrotta Bakery was opened in the Little Italy district of Baltimore in 2002. However, there is a long and storied tradition that precedes its opening...
Proprietor Carminantonio Iannaccone was born in Avellino, a city in southern Italy, near Naples, in 1946. At the age of 9, he began working in the pastry business. This was an era of economic difficulties in Italy, which had still not recovered from the devastation of World War II. At 12, Carminantonio heard of an opportunity to work at a gelateria in Milan. Feeling the need to support his struggling family, Carminantonio took the opportunity and moved to Milan, telling Gelateria Pozzi that he was acually 14.
This was not a time when many people were interested in baking desserts, because few people had the money to buy anything other than the basic necessities. Regardless, Carminantonio worked hard and learned the trade of baking. By age 18, Carminantonio had already opened several restaurants of his own.
In 1969, Carminantonio opened the original Piedigrotta in Ponte di Piave, Italy. This restaurant, bakery, and gelato parlor had an enormous success to the point that it was suppying restaurants with deserts within a 200-mile radius. Piedigrotta grew into a large-scale warehouse and distribution facility with several locations. Along with his brother, Giuseppe, who was a pioneer in the delivery business with the company Eurogel, Carminantonio revised the way baking and food service were done.
Among his many accomplishments, Carminantonio is credited with the invention of the tiramisu, now the highest-selling dessert in the world, on December 24, 1969, in Via Sottotreviso, while working as the head chef in Treviso (near Venice). He was also a pioneer in the expansion of the Semi-Freddo, a type of cake that is "not quite cake and not quite ice cream." His innovative work built the infrastructure to produce the Semi-Freddo en masse and transport is over a large area. With over 40 years of experience, Carminantonio is among the most accomplished bakers you can find anywhere.
Carminantonio has been assisted throughout his career by his wife, Bruna, whom he met while working in Treviso. Together, they have run restaurants and exported baked goods all over Italy. Through all of Carminantonio's ambitious endeavors in the gastronomical arts, Bruna has tirelessly worked alongside him.