The history of the Levoni company began in 1911, when Ezechiello Levoni moved into his first artisan production space on the outskirts of Milan. There he started to produce his own salamis, putting into practice the mysteries of the pork butcher’s art he had learnt while working with Milanese masters of the trade.
The decision to strike out on his own was fuelled by his fierce determination not to accept “quality standards” imposed by others. He defiantly insisted he would never compromise on his ideal of superior quality salamis, even though he was well aware of the sacrifices this would involve.
Just 2 years later, in 1913, Ezechiello stepped into the international spotlight when he charmed the palates of a jury of international experts. He presented his personal Salame Ungherese recipe at the international exhibition “Modern Arts and Industry”, London, and was awarded the gold medal. He won this recognition even though many curious spectators had speculated that Levoni could win only “when pigs grew wings” – in other words, never! The founder liked this colourful expression so much that he turned it round and made it his own – Levoni, he now maintained, would compromise on quality only when pigs grew wings!
The simple truth is he won in London because of his single-minded focus on uncompromising quality combined with respect for tradition. The Castellucchio company’s ethos still reflects these unchanging values, and Ezechiello’s ideals still play a vital role in the company’s growing range of salamis. So when Levoni decided to create a logo for its fine Salumi, it comes as no surprise that the company chose a pig with wings, as unlikely as a compromise by Ezechiello. This total commitment to quality can be even further emphasized by creatively rewriting the Italian word for pigs, MAIALI, as MAI ALI… or in other words, WINGS? NEVER!
Today the winged pig symbol is a sympathetic reminder of Ezechiello’s success in 1913, and of the family’s continuing dedication to uncompromising excellence.
Onwards and upwards
But Ezechiello was not the kind of man to sit back and enjoy his new-found international success – he was determined to move on to greater things, and bought an old salami production facility in Castellucchio, in the province of Mantua. The Levoni company grew and began to produce even more kinds of salami… always, of course, to the highest quality standards. This led naturally to the production of prosciuttos, cooked hams, mortadellas and many other specialities, which Levoni began to distribute to the best delicatessens in Italy and abroad.
The founder’s legendary single-mindedness meant that he’d only let his three sons enter the family firm when he was sure that they, like him, would never stoop to compromise, and uphold the tradition of producing only “Quelli Buoni”.
The Levoni company even managed to keep to its strict quality standards through two world wars, thanks to its constant dedication to its clients and staff – who are almost a second family!
The toughest challenge, though, has been making sure standards of craftsmanship and quality keep pace with a steady increase in production volumes – and that is a challenge all future generations will have to face!