Cotti in Fragranza is a laboratory for the preparation of high quality baked goods, born in 2016 inside the Malaspina Juvenile Detention Facility in Palermo.

A cutting-edge social enterprise that uses high quality ingredients for a production Made in Sicily of excellence.

The Cotti in Fragranza project is an honest one, based on a precise ethics of responsibility, in which the young people involved are key players of all choices, from products names to marketing strategies.

Cotti in Fragranza is a civil enterprise, which not only constitutes an important opportunity for social inclusion for the young people of Malaspina, but also calls on them to make decisions and to know in detail the value of each product and the social, environmental and territorial impact of their work.

Finally, at the end of their detention, the boys continue to work on the project, constantly training and acquiring more and more responsibility.

The Beginning

The products baked by the boys of Malaspina hit the shelves of fair-trade shops in 2017, covering in just a few months the entire country, from Bolzano to Ragusa, thanks to the support of Solidarity Purchase Groups (known as GAS in Italy). They soon reached large-scale distribution thanks to the support of Legacoop Sicilia Occidentale, and in 2019 they crossed national borders with several retailers in Belgium. 

Since the beginning of its journey, the social enterprise has created many co-marketing projects and partnerships with wineries, such as Tenute Orestiadi – whose wine Pacenzia has been combined with shortbread biscuits Buonicuore – and Masi, for which it created the Sbrisolona, Zaletti and ginger shortbread biscuits to pair with their wines.  In 2018, a collaboration was launched with the Libera Terra consortium, which saw the creation and production of a savoury biscuit (Cecireddo) exclusively for the Libera brand, with raw ingredients produced on confiscated mafia land.

Not just biscuits!

In 2018 Cotti in Fragranza inaugurated a second operational unit outside the walls of Malaspina to give new strength to the social enterprise by increasing the number of young people involved and to ensure the continuation of working careers outside, once the prison sentence has been served.

This new operating hub is located inside the former seventeenth-century convent Casa San Francesco, in the heart of Ballarò, a space in which the production of sweet and savory biscuits is combined with that of meals for company canteens and fresh delicacies for catering services and activities linked to sustainable tourism.

Within an abandoned garden inside Casa San Francesco, refurbished and transformed into an oasis of peace, in 2019 Cotti in Fragranza decides to open the bistro Al Fresco. A green gem in the heart of Palermo serving delicious treats from breakfast to dinner, but also a space for events, live music and photo exhibitions. Following this news Gambero Rosso awarded Cotti in Fragranza as Italy’s Best Social Food Project for 2019, and today Al Fresco is part of the Slow Food organization, with a menu that enhances local produce, seasonality and ‘zero Km food’.

What's next for Cotti in Fragranza

The work of the social enterprise does not end here: thanks to the support of three private foundations (Fondazione Con il Sud, Fondazione San Zeno and Fondazione Prosolidar) an area for tourist reception, with 16 different lodgings (between rooms and mini-apartments) will be realized inside Casa San Francesco.

The project involves the training of operators in the hospitality sector, including inmates and former inmates (adults and minors) and young migrants, who will be employed for the management of the renovated premises, in the areas of customer care, facility management, cleaning and catering.

The (awesome) numbers of Cotti in Fragranza

During its first 5 years, Cotti in Fragranza has produced almost 27,000 kg of biscuits, selling more than 102,000 boxes, for a total of over 5 million shortbread biscuits, hand-made one by one. The numbers we prefer, however, are those that speak of the social impact of the project. Since 2016, in fact, Cotti in Fragranza has started 33 professional journeys, including internships, apprenticeships, fixed-term and permanent employment contracts, both within the IPM Laboratory and Casa San Francesco. 12 young people from the IPM, 9 teenagers from the USSM, 8 young migrants at risk of leaving the protection system, 2 young homeless people, 1 juvenile from the community and 1 adult from the penal area were involved.  Furthermore, the collaboration with the Court of Palermo has enabled the laboratory to carry out 9 public utility paths open in most cases to people with skills in the catering sector that have made a significant contribution to the work carried out.

The (awesome) numbers of Cotti in Fragranza

Kg of biscuits
millions shortbread biscuits
professional journeys


All these objectives would never have been achieved without the help of our partners, who in various ways have supported the project along the way:

Addio Pizzo Travel

Associazione Nazionale Magistrati

Coop Alleanza 3.0

EIT Food CLC South

Fondazione Con il Sud

Fondazione Prosolidar

Fondazione San Zeno

Garante dei detenuti – Sicilia


Istituto Valdese


Libera Terra

Masi Agricola

Opera Don Calabria

Palma Nana

Tenute Orestiadi