Casa Simón, at the bottom of the square, with white awning. Year 1950.
1840 - 1880
LEARNING THE CHOCOLATIER’S TRADE
Simón Mestres was born to a family of wine-makers from Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.
While his brother dedicated himself to wine, Simón established a new business a few doors from the family house.
There he opened a shop selling “overseas” products such as cocoa and coffee.
Simón Mestres, Founder of Casa Simón, currently Chocolates Simón Coll S.A.
Daily contact with cocoa led him to chocolate-making. By hand, he created various chocolate formulas which would soon become the most sought-after products for clients of Casa Simón.
Today, each time we develop new products we continue to be inspired by this close, artisan relationship with the cocoa transformation process.
(Original metate from Casa Simón, 1840. The metate is a granite stone which was used to grind cocoa by hand)
1880 - 1910
THE "SIMÓN" BRAND IS BORN
The chocolatier tradition passed from Simón to Miquel, who loved the art as much as his father and who, around 1880, created the first known chocolate wrapper. On it we see the SIMÓN Brand framed with engravings and depicting a very descriptive scene based on chocolate. It shows three key moments that represent the three main raw materials used in chocolate-making. The harvest in a sugar cane plantation, wheat threshing to represent flour and cocoa making the journey from one continent to the other by sailboat.
(Original wrapper from 1840 and a chocolate bar moulded in the old style.)
THE FIRST CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Despite the difficulties presented by the Spanish Civil War in the latter part of this period, these three decades saw a progressive mechanisation of the chocolate-making process. This began in a space adjacent to the artisan workshop, where moulding, refining and conching machines were installed.
Left photo: Mixer or stone mill where the cocoa was ground and refined, and where the other ingredients to make chocolate were mixed. This mechanisation enabled a much greater variety and quantity of superior quality products to be made. It was from this point that we start to see the emergence of the first Simon Coll chocolate factory. All of this enabled the expansion of the SIMÓN brand beyond the original client base of the shop in Sant Sadurní. Right photo: Workers of Casa Simón making chocolate, 1960.
1950 - 1960
FIRST ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NATIONAL COMMERCIAL EXPANSION.
Miquel Coll was simultaneously a pastisseur, and a chocolatier. He was passionate and strived for excellence in both activities. Miquel chose to make a high-quality chocolate, working with the right ingredients and machinery to achieve the characteristically fine texture for which he became known.
In this period the first advertising and promotional campaigns were launched through radio adverts and the release of albums with collectable cards. During this period, the distribution network was developed until it encompassed all of Spain.
Simon Coll picture album published in 1959.
Advertisements for chocolate released in cinemas during that period.
Van delivering Simón chocolates
CHOCOLATE AMATLLER BARCELONA IS ACQUIRED BY SIMÓN COLL, S.A.
In 1972, Xavier Coll, son of Miquel and fifth generation of the family, took over the management of the company and acquired the emblematic Chocolate Amatller brand. Created in 1797 by Gabriel Amatller, this had been a leading brand in Catalonia and throughout Spain through the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Chocolate Amatller, the firm that Gabriel Amatller had founded in the old Barcelona quarter of Santa Maria del Mar, has been ever-present in the market since its inception more than 220 years ago.
Two historic brands
This Chocolate Amatller bar, used to make drinking chocolate, is the most iconic product of the brand, and it is still being sold in its original wrapper.
Xocolata Arumí is originally from Catalonia’s inland city of Vic and has also a long history. This also forms part of the brands currently sold by Simón Coll S.A.
MARKET GROWTH THROUGH SPECIALISATION AND R&D
It was a period of global turbulence, due in part to the worldwide oil crisis of 1973. At the same time the competition from international brands entering the Spanish market grew ever stronger. In this difficult environment, Xavier decided to focus on innovation and differentiation.
With the introduction of robotics, Simón Coll managed to create differentiated products on an industrial scale, all the while maintaining our particular, emblematic style.
In order to differentiate Simón Coll from its competitors, Xavier Coll identified segments in the chocolate market where Simón Coll could stand out. A key range of products among others were the seasonal chocolates, particularly for Christmas and Easter.
(spinning line for Simón Coll Easter eggs)
SIMÓN COLL BEGINS TO EXPORT
Simon Coll shifted the focus to international markets, beginning to export in 1991. Today we export 25% of our total production, both the Simon Coll and Amatller brands now export to more than 30 countries worldwide. In the photo from left to right: an extract from a Czech sales catalogue, a page from Wallpaper Magazine (UK), an advert which ran in Japanese department stores.
BEGINNING TO BUILD THE SIMON COLL BRAND OF THE 21ST CENTURY
In 2004 Maria Coll, the daughter of Xavier Coll and sixth generation of the family, joined the management team of the company. Her dream was to build the Simón Coll of the future, focusing on the value of the whole range of products developed by her father, and driving their commercial development.
(Maria Coll, sixth generation of the family to lead Simón Coll.)
Chocolate traditions, updated.
In previous decades, the company had specialised in seasonal products for children. Using the existing range of products as a basis, the emphasis then began to shift towards creativity in the design of new wrappers made by well-known illustrators of books.
From this point, our seasonal products for children, aside from being made from good chocolate, also conveyed key Simón Coll values emotion and quality from the wrapper itself.
The Simón Coll range grows to include high-cocoa varieties
Simón Coll began to navigate the new trends in the chocolate industry. Consumers had been looking for more and more products with a high cocoa content, in formats that could fit their lifestyle. This was a good moment for Simón Coll to launch a new line of chocolate bars and drinking chocolate, creating new formulas, moulds and packaging better suited to their day-to-day use.
The renaissance of Chocolate Amatller
In 2007 the chocolate industry was evolving towards a more adult, gourmet consumption. At this point the Amatller brand shifted in this direction with some carefully-crafted, high quality products. To facilitate this, new flavours and textures were incorporated into the range, with some changes of format and beautiful packaging which made use of the rich graphic heritage of the brand.
THE SIMÓN COLL VISITORS CENTRE – THE ESPAI XOCOLATA, OPENS ITS DOORS
The Espai Xocolata opened its doors on 4th October 2012 following 8 years developing the project. I grew from a desire to promote the brand, cocoa and chocolate culture. The Espai Xocolata is our main voice in the market – it is a haven for chocolate-lovers.
Divulgar la marca, i la cultura del cacau i la xocolata
Situat al centre de Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, ha actuat com a generador de visitants al municipi, i contribueix a la interessant oferta enoturística existent en aquest poble vitivinícola per excelencia.
Comparar història i actualitat
L’ahir i l’avui de la fàbrica dins un mateix espai. El visitant pot observar tant el procés tradicional d’elaboració, com, en viu, una línia moderna actual d’emmotllat i envasat.
De “desconeixedors” a “fans” de Simón Coll
El visitant, també hi pot trobar, en la botiga de fàbrica, tota la col.lecció de productes Simón Coll, degustar-los
A SHIFT IN OUR INVESTIGATION PROCESS AROUND FINE AROMA COCOAS
In 2013 Xavier Coll began to develop his own method for turning aromatic cocoas into aromatic chocolate, based on his day to day experience in cocoa processing, and his stays in several cocoa farms from both America and Africa. He visited cocoa plantations in Ghana, Sao Tomé, Equador, Perú and Honduras studying those factors which contributed towards the primary aromas of cocoa along with the grower cooperatives. His aim being to later transfer this knowledge to his chocolate bars.
NEW SHOP AT CASA AMATLLER – BARCELONA
In 2014, the Casa Amatller, of 41 Passeig de Gràcia, opened its doors to the public. The Casa Amatller was the result of a project by architect Puig i Cadafalch and was once home to the Amatller family. The tour of the house focuses on the first floor where they lived, which has been perfectly preserved and restored.
An oasis of chocolate inside the Amatller house
On the ground floor, which you can access freely, just next to a café-restaurant, is the shop selling Chocolate Amatller products. Here you can find all the products of the brand and a dedicated staff to advise and inform you, plus tasting areas where you can experience our chocolate. In this space, situated in the original kitchen of the house, you can try the original Amatller drinking chocolate, a unique and authentic experience.
AROMATIC CACAO FACTORY
In 2018 Simón Coll launches Casa Simón Aromatic Cacao Factory in the same place where Simón Mestres had started the first chocolate workshop 180 years before. Its purpose is to create aromatic-cacao-based chocolates using artisan traditional methods, preserving as much as possible the cocoa’s original aroma. The small-batch craft chocolates are sold exclusively at Casa Simón shop, and online.
Aromatic Cacao Factory
The old Casa Simón chocolate machines come to a new life in the renovated Aromatic Cacao Factory, where new and exciting aromatic cacaos are being transformed into limited edition chocolate bars.
Next to the small-batch Factory, the Tasting Room hosts activities involving chocolate making and tasting.
At the Chocolate shop you can find, the best of Simón Coll and Chocolate Amatller assortment, as well as the limited editions produced in the Aromatic CacaoFactory.