Coccoina, Italy’s madeleine

Coccoina glue holds together almost ninety years of memories for generations of Italians.

Manufactured by Pavia’s Balma, Capoduri & C. since 1927, the “while, solid office glue” is an amazing “madeleine”, known to evoke distant childhood days with its unique almond smell.

In one of his novels, Italian politician and author Walter Veltroni explains the role played by Coccoina in one boy’s life, in the 1960s, as he cuts out the images of Giro d’Italia racers from the popular “Il Corriere dei Piccoli”:

“The smell of Coccoina was delightful. It was a positive side effect to Andrea’s favorite game. A game he could play on his own, in fact one he had to. […] It required time and focus.”

“First of all, you needed a pristine copy of ‘Corriere dei Piccoli’. Then scissors, some not-too-hard cardboard, and the gray jar of that wonderful white cream that smelled like nothing else.”

“Andrea knew that the magical brush inside a special section of each round container could hold on to some glue, which would harden. He knew you had to brush back and forth every time until even the smallest clump had melted.”

“He loved that ceremony and its rituals, which he always carried out with painstaking precision. Any mistake – in the cutting curve or the cardboard’s shape – could prove fatal and determine the athlete’s premature retirement” (translated from W. Veltroni, “Noi”, Rizzoli, Milan 2010).

You can see Coccoina in our gallery. If you ever had the chance to use it, we are sure you’ll remember exactly what it smells like.

Photos via: ©

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