the good Pasta for a century!

The Maxim Pasta pasta factory celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. A family success spanning four generations.

For a century now, in the heart of the city of Esch-sur-Alzette, at 23-25 ​​​​​​​​rue du Canal, a pasta factory has resisted the attacker, whether it is called Barilla or Panzani! Maxim Pasta, the factory in Luxembourg, is actually celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, just that.

Maxim Pasta is the story of a success above all family: it was in 1922 that the Crescentini family, originally from Umbria (in central Italy), bought what was previously just a grocery store to found what became the country’s first pasta factory.

Success comes really quickly, especially since Italian emigrants who have come to work in the mines in the region are legion and happy to rediscover the native flavors.

Your favorite pasta? “It changes all the time!” for Dario Battestini (l.) and the “tagliatelle!” for Max Stoisa (d.)

But how long ago the days when pasta was made here by hand by 45 employees and packed in kraft paper bags are far gone!

Today, only ten of them work within the factory walls, including administration: everything is automated, from production to packaging. Only the packaging in boxes remains manual, and one employee is enough to follow the pace of the machine.

One hundred tons of pasta per month

Three production lines (one dedicated to long pasta, such as spaghetti, and two dedicated to short pasta, such as penne) ensure the production and packaging of around 450 kg of pasta per hour, or 100 tons per month.

The company offers almost forty types of pasta, including those for soup, such as angel hair, which is a hit in winter and which many competitors have abandoned.

Every day, 1,500 km of spaghetti are also produced – “equivalent to a trip to Rome!” laughs Dario Battestini, Technical Director of Maxim Pasta.

Despite this modernization, in a hundred years of existence, the company has “never laid off a single employee”, welcomes Dario Battestini. “People have spent their entire careers here. We even had an employee who started there at 15 and stayed until retirement!” adds Max Stoisa, managing partner and great-grandson of the factory’s founder, Max Crescentini.

Himself, 66 years old today, he joined Maxim Pasta in 1979. It was “obvious” for him to follow in the footsteps of his father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather, father.

Raw materials from Italy

The times may have changed, but the values ​​have remained the same: altruism (every fortnight pasta is delivered to Caritas), but also and above all, the quality of the products is essential, of respect for the customers. , which the leaders never cease to thank for their loyalty.

The wheat therefore comes from Italy, and so do the tomatoes – “much better than those from China!”, where the competition is supplied, emphasizes the boss. “They are washed, peeled and contain no pesticides. We go there regularly to check,” says Dario Battestini.

As for the eggs, pasteurized and stored at a temperature of 2°C, they come from several farms in Italy, Germany or France. “We cannot afford to have a single supplier in the event of bird flu. On the other hand, all our eggs come from hens that are raised on the land, we care about the well-being of the hens!”, he continues.

In order to preserve the nutritional qualities of the pasta, it is also dried at a maximum temperature of 60°C, when manufacturers go up to 140°C. So of course the operation is longer at the Eschoise factory: it takes eight to sixteen hours to complete a package of pasta.

But the result is unequivocal: Egg pasta, for which Maxim Pasta is the leader in the Grand Duchy, has a beautiful pure color, holds up well during cooking and has retained all its proteins.

Even the packaging is thought through in this spirit, no offense to those who would like to see it replaced by cardboard: the packaging is made of a double plastic film (recyclable) and the writing is written on it “in a sandwich”, that is to say between the two films, so as not to transfer the mineral oils to the paste.

“Of course, this double packaging costs more than a single box. But with cardboard packaging, pasta can absorb moisture or ambient odors, or even liquid if the cardboard is wet! We prefer to bet on the good quality of our product”, explains Dario Battestini.

Work en masse during the crisis

Maxim Pasta is present in all stores in the country and also supplies restaurants through La Provençale, under the Lux Pasta brand. But if these companies suffered during the health crisis, for Maxim Pasta, it was the exact opposite.

Not only has no employee contracted covid, but in addition, orders have increased sharply, with customers rushing to staple foods: at least a 25% increase, Dario Battetini estimates. “All the pasta shelves were empty, except ours! We were proud! We were working overtime to ensure deliveries.

What unfortunately weighs today is the price of wheat, which exploded due to a bad harvest: “It went from 420 euros per ton for more than 800 euros! And it keeps increasing,” laments the technical director.

Luxembourg as main customer

If the factory has been bearing these costs since August, it has decided to increase the price of its products this 1steh February, from 17% to 18% on average.

A decision that clearly displeased a Belgian chain of stores based in Luxembourg: “All the brands have raised their prices, but this distributor rejects it for us. It doesn’t matter: we will no longer sell to them,” warns Dario Battestini, who calls on the government to support small businesses against the big producers who have a monopoly.

Especially since this partnership is a deviation from an ecological point of view: “Since they no longer have a factory in Luxembourg, they require us to transport our pasta – at our expense – to their factory in Belgium, so that it is redistributed in Luxembourg!” .

The Grand Duchy remains Maxim Pasta’s main customer – and not by a long shot. The company also supplies to Belgium, but this represents only 10% of its market. However, Maxim Pasta does not want to expand or seek to gain ground beyond the border: “The bigger it is, the more worries and dependence on large customers. And then we prefer to stay at home!”, concludes Max Stoisa.

100 years is something to celebrate!

On the occasion of this unusual anniversary, Maxim Pasta has decided to spoil its customers. On the menu: promotions and new products to discover next week in the store.

Gourmets will be able to enjoy new sauces as well as egg pasta specially created for the occasion: sorprese (“surprises” in Italian), a kind of mini tortellini that open slightly when cooked.

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