With roots that trace back to the 18th century, they started their activity in 1824 and, after nine generations in the sector, Elaboraciones Artesanas López y Espí was created, where their innovative character is still on show today, along with a career full of awards and recognition.
Their impressive list of clients includes the Spanish Royal Family, Pope Benedict XVI and the current Pope Francis.
You’re one of the few companies that can boast eight generations of master artisans. What is the secret to Elaboraciones Artesanas López y Espí’s success?
It’s more than a secret, it’s a work philosophy: by maintaining the high standards set out for us by our parents and grandparents. And, of course, by keeping the same formulas, patience when making our turrons and sweet, by using top quality raw materials, and above all, using lots of care.
You’ve recently received an Artesanía Valencian prize in the Artisan Foods category. What does this prize mean to the company?
It’s another step along our path. Financially, it’s been used to attend more shows to continue making ourselves more visible and making a name for ourselves. It means more support in order to consolidate our achievements from across our long career, so that our clients can continue to put more faith in us and our products.
What was your entry in the competition?
We wanted our artisanal heritage to stand out as well as our innovation in making our turrons and sweets, such as creating the first spreadable turron in the world – Turrodelia Gourmet – and other inventive products, such as turron with seeds and orange blossom honey or tiger nut turron, among others.
Also, we highlight our continued investment and participation in fairs, tastings, samplings and promotions in collaboration with various prestigious and well-known chefs, hotels and university research centres – Miguel Hernández University in Elche, Alicante.
Research, creativity and purchasing new facilities and brands were all decisive in us being chosen for this prize.
You are constantly redeveloping the company’s products, but is faithfulness to tradition part of the company’s philosophy?
Of course, faithfulness to tradition is the first thing we maintain, but the times require innovations and new tastes, so tradition and innovation go hand in hand.
What are you working on at the moment?
We want to increase the sizes of our products to give them more versatility, from small bars to energy bars which complement the more traditional packaging sizes.
How do you keep people interested throughout the year for a product that many see to be as very seasonal?
Honestly, it’s very difficult to deseasonalise a product with such a strong tradition. Our focus is on our star product, Turrodelia Gourmet, which is a way of eating turron throughout the year, incorporating it into the Mediterranean diet, snacks, traditional and experimental cooking. We’ve also introduced our smaller size energy bars into shops, aimed mainly towards tourists.
Who are your main customers?
Being an artisan product, specialist shops as well as gourmet and delicatessen shops are our main sector. But we also distribute to El Corte Inglés, national airports, and even Repsol service stations.
How has the recent recession affected the production of hand-made turron? Will it leave the recession stronger, or has it lost its position to more industrial products?
For the last 5 years, we’ve been following a very linear path. In our case, we haven’t dropped off but we haven’t seen any sharp rises either, what we call unremarkable, or normal.
Yet, despite the sector’s best efforts, artisans are a profession at risk of disappearing within the next decade. What can we do about this?
We can continue supporting the artisan sector, never abandon it, keep blowing our own trumpets, because artisan products are the best, and by convincing the younger market that artisan products are high quality, because they are the future and those who can really keep artisanship alive.
NOTE: ‘Turrodelia’ is the first spreadable turron in the world. Conceived to provide youngsters with an alternative, it’s been de-seasonalised and introduced it into the Mediterranean diet to take advantage of the natural goodness provided by almonds and honey.