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Giuseppe Baj - Teresa Campiglio

Giuseppe Baj

The Baj family produced panettones and confectionery since the 18th century, but it was “the confectioner” Giuseppe Baj, born in 1839, who gave the brand its fame and extensive distribution.

After some decades of acitivity in Via Broletto, in 1872, Giuseppe decided to open his Confetteria Baj in Piazza del Duomo, soon to become an intensive place for producing and selling panettones, chocolate and other confectionery, manufactured in a big factory “with hydraulic power and steam” His business became very successful during the golden era before the First World War, with increasing profits both nationally and internationally.

Giuseppe Baj was “fortunate” enough not to witness the atrocities of the Great War and its impact on international trade, followed by autarkic economic policies, inevitably leading to confining panettones mainly to the Italian market.

Giuseppe Baj’s grave is located in the Cimitero Monumentale in Milan. Because of its artistic and architectural value, the Polytechnic University of Milan has chosen the monumental tomb together with 26 others as an object for study and part of an exhibition.

During the 1930’s some of the sons of Giuseppe, among whom Alfredo, Cesare’s grandfather and Tomaso’s great-grandfather, and Luigi, continued production of the Baj Panettone, but at at a much smaller scale and far from the achievements of the past. Towards the end of the decade, on the eve of World War II, production had ended for good.

Since the end of World War II, panettones are getting an annual global boost, but only in 2016 and thanks to Cesare Baj and his son Tomaso, the Baj Panettone has made a comeback. The heirs had the chance to inherit both the original recipe and a great number of mementos, which illustrate the personal and industrial history of their ancestor Giuseppe, miraculously surviving transitions, relocations, changes in professional activities and even 2 world wars.

Teresa Campiglio and her six children
Teresa Campiglio and her six children. On her left, Alfredo, Cesare’s great-grandfather.
Booklet of Giuseppe Baj when he was a soldier in Giuseppe Garibaldi’s army
Booklet of Giuseppe Baj when he was a soldier in Giuseppe Garibaldi’s army. Under profession it states “Pastry chef”.
Medals awarded to Giuseppe Baj for his participation in the 1859 and 1860 Unification of Italy campaigns.
Medals awarded to Giuseppe Baj for his participation in the 1859 and 1860 Unification of Italy campaigns.
Caricature drawing of Giuseppe Baj
Caricature drawing of Giuseppe Baj by one of his artistic customers.
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