Bonnie Tempesta
Bonnie Lynn Tempesta


September 25, 2014


Specialty foods pioneer Bonnie Lynn Tempesta died on September 25th 2014, at her home in Sonoma after a brief struggle with cancer. She was 61 years old.

Bonnie introduced biscotti to the artisan American food scene in the 1980s, igniting a nationwide craze for Tuscany's twice-baked cookies known as "biscotti di Prato." Bonnie began selling her delightfully long, thin, crispy biscotti door-to-door to specialty shops in San Francisco in 1982.

The following year, along with her mother, Aurora, Bonnie founded La Tempesta Bakery Confections. La Tempesta grew to become the largest biscotti producer in the United States. Customers included Neiman Marcus, Starbucks, Macy's, and Dean & DeLuca. Bonnie is also credited with developing the first commercially sold chocolate-dipped biscotti, which she named Cioccolotti. A columnist for the San Francisco Examiner dubbed her "the queen of biscotti" - a nickname that stayed with her throughout her life.

Bonnie sold La Tempesta in 1997, after which she devoted her energy to other passions: art, animals, and Teen Inspiration Foundation, the nonprofit she founded to provide free arts-based education to disadvantaged youth. But Bonnie could not stay away from baking. In 2012, she started a small, philanthropic baking company in Kenwood called Boncora (the name Boncora is derived from Bonnie's name, "Bon," and "ancora," which means encore in Italian.) She donated a portion of every sale to her favorite cause: Pets Lifeline of Sonoma County, a local nonprofit animal rescue organization.

Bonnie's proudest accomplishment was her daughter, Daniela. Throughout her busy and successful career in the food business, Bonnie's role as a mother was always her top priority. Bonnie and Daniela remained best friends until Bonnie's final days, and they were a constant source of inspiration and support for one another. Daniela was at Bonnie's bedside holding her hand as she passed.

Bonnie enjoyed a remarkably rich life as a mother, entrepreneur, baker, chef, and artist. She was also a devoted fan of roots music, and she made regular trips to the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

She is survived by her father Luigi Marcheschi, brother Cork Marcheschi, daughter Daniela Tempesta, son-in-law Jeffrey Wycoff, boyfriend Gary (Jack) Robinson, Daniela's father Giovanni Tempesta, and her beloved rescue dogs Chubby and Vico.

It was her wish that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Pets Lifeline (www.petslifeline.org).

Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5, 2014.
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28 Entries
Bonnie was the teachers assistant at the cooking school I attended in Cotati some years ago. During one of our classes, Bonnie had the whole class over to her lovely home where she performed a cooking demonstration. She was wonderful, caring, and so accomplished. I was greatly impressed by her and I loved her love for animals. Hope to see you again someday, Bonnie.
Vicky Tuorto
November 30, 2019
Trish Jacobs
April 10, 2016
I met and became friends with Bonnie in 1981 at Confetti when we both worked there. She left such a lasting impression on me . . . I will never forget her. She inspired me to begin making my own Italian specialties, as we shared a love of the then virtually unknown Biscotti di Prato, and she introduced me to Pan Forte di Sienna which has led to a life-long passion. To see her dream of owning her own business flourish into such a success was incredible. What a beautiful soul she is, and I'm so sad to learn of her passing. Daniella - I last I saw you when you were just a toddler playing in the Plaza at Embarcadero Center, her love and playful nature with you were so beautiful to see. Best wishes to her family and loved ones. What a sad loss for this world. Gone too soon.
Amy Gerard Pernick
October 24, 2015
I shall never forget Bonnie. She was a person I actually knew who took something small, her family's biscotti cookie recipe, and built it into an empire while a single mother struggling to live on her own. She and my aunt Shirley Coffaro were once good friends. Shirley met Bonnie's traditional Italian-American family when she used to hop on the bus to San Francisco to take Italian lessons in the 1970's. Before long, Bonnie was selling biscotti in my aunt's ice cream shop, La Moderne (French for "the latest"), which was in Redwood City. Back then, they were 7-inches long golden brown slices studded with almonds and spread on one side with dark chocolate. This was in the style of the popular Pine Street bakery, who sold giant chocolate cookies in large old-fashioned glass jars all over the bay area, as far as Mendocino. Each biscotti was individually wrapped in a crisp cellophane bag, tied with a striped ribbon. Bonnie also opened an Italian sandwich shop in San Mateo around this time called "Salami Mommy's." She gave several relatives of mine jobs in each business. Her tall, vixenlike figure was sure to be spotted at my aunt's many family dinners and picnics. Her father Luigi had his own wine cellar and gave our family lots of hints on how to make Italian foods at home, such as sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto, and roasted red bell peppers. They were all very nice people I feel blessed to have met. Now, so many are gone. Shirley, too, died tragically after being hit by a car in 2006. Naturally, I am shocked was well as saddened to find out about Bonnie's demise. Sixty-one is certainly too young to die in this day and age; she never got to fully enjoy the results of her efforts. I can only feel thankful that her products live on for others to enjoy.
Kamille Coffaro
September 25, 2015
I never knew of your mom until someone sent me your story of taking over the Bakery. When I read her obituary I was touched that she had lived a life that left the world a better place.
Francine Ruvolo (Los Altos)
February 23, 2015
Daniela, I was so deeply saddened and heartbroken to hear of your moms passing. Although we hadn't seen each other in many years I have fond memories of times we enjoyed together as little girls, teenagers and adults. As a mom of 2 girls myself I know how much she loved you. There are no words to express the sorrow but I hope you can make all your beautiful memories your source of strength snd comfort.....and knowing that she'll always be with you. We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to you, Zio Louie, Cork, Giovanni and all the family.
Much love...Maria, Mario, Gabriella Marcheschi and Marcella and Jason Passanisi
Maria Marcheschi
November 22, 2014
Dear Daniela,
I am deeply saddened to know of your beautiful mother Bonnie's passing. I had the joy of knowing Bonnie during the year I worked at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (2013-2014). Bonnie, who was on the Board of the Museum, was so genuinely kind and friendly to me whenever we met. Upon my arrival (on staff) in early 2013, Bonnie graciously threw a welcome party for me at her lovely home in Sonoma. It was the type of fun and generous gesture that she will be so well remembered for with friends and colleagues. My heartfelt condolences & blessings to you and your family,
Celeste Smeland
October 23, 2014
So sorry to hear this news. I worked with Bonnie briefly to help with PR and Marketing up here in Sonoma County. She was a delightful, beautiful human being with grace and kindness. She will be missed very much. I am hopeful that her family will continue with her legacy of the biscotti, as it makes so many people happy to eat them! In this way, she has touched so many. Peace to you all during this difficult time.
Tricia O'Brien
October 7, 2014
Saddened by the news of Bonnie's passing as our connection never came full circle. We were united through mutual friends and began emailing our memories and shared photos of our grandmothers, who were best friends. Bonnie's grandmother, Alduena Orsi and my grandmother, Gabriella Montinelli Ferranti must have known each other in Italy as The Orsi's sponsored my grandmother to this country and introduced her to my grandfather, who was also from Prato. We had talked of reuniting Luigi with my aunt, uncle and mother, who have fun memories and stories.
My heart breaks for the loss of this lovely woman, I am saddened to have missed my opportunity to meet her face to face, my love to her darling daughter, Daniela, all of her family and friends...
Sandra Frazer
October 7, 2014
My heart is saddened at the news of Bonnie's passing and knowing that I will not be able to see her again after my long absence from the Bay Area.
She was a sensitive, loving and passionate soul that will truly be missed by everyone that she touched.
I will always cherish the years we spent growing up together in Burlingame. They are forever held in my heart and mind.
Bonnie is now with her beloved friend and mother, Aurora. May her family find comfort in remembering the joys she brought to all whom she touched.

Arrivederci, Bonnie!

Paola ( New York/ San Diego)
October 7, 2014
No language can express the power and beauty, and heroism and majesty of a Mother's love. These words hold true for three special ladies Aurora, Bonnie and Daniela. Over the past 25 years I have been blessed and I am thankful to be touched by all three of these incredible ladies. At one point we all laughed, loved and had the time of our lives together. I am thankful that Giovanni shared each of them with me. I know that Bonnie is at peace now running through the fields of flowers amongst the angels and her furry friends. We are all angels with only one wing and we can only fly embracing eachother. Peace be with you Bonnie and all of your family and friends.
Janice Marcellini Spsnier
October 6, 2014
What an impression Bonnie made on everyone she graced with her presence. Just like her daughter Daniela, both filed with intrinsic humor and kindness.
Daniella Caveney
October 6, 2014
I discovered Tempesta nocciola biscotti in 1989 and was fanatical about them. When I came back to California after a career and graduate school out of state, I discovered that the company was now Boncora and Bonnie answered my email personally!! I was so impressed that good products and good business owners were carrying on their craft. I really encourage those who come after her to carry on the tradition of people's families doing something excellent generation after generation. We appreciate it. She will be missed.
October 6, 2014
Pamela
October 6, 2014
Bonnie was a Beautiful Woman and Spiritual Warrior. We had many talks about Life Love and of course Family. We both shared a Passion for Animals. I know that God wanted another Flower in the Garden but I will miss our talks and many will grieve such a loss. I chose to celebrate her Life.
Nothing is past,nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as before...only better,infinitely happier and forever we will all be one.
My arms stretch to Heaven to hug you.
Be in Bliss dear Bonnie
Love
Pat Donovan
October 6, 2014
Bonnie's warmth and compassion were an inspiration to me and to so many others. She loved her family with all her heart and soul, and gave so generously of herself to them.
She was beautiful, stylish, and an amazing cook. She loved her friends, animals, and all sentient beings. I will miss her, and send all my love and condolences to Daniella and Giovanni.
with Love and all the Blessings of Heaven, rest in peace.
Linda Allen
October 6, 2014
I am shocked to hear of this and so sad. A great person and talent, I saw her this summer and she seemed "preoccupied" but no idea of this :(

First met and worked with her when she founded her first Tempesta Bakery.

She will be missed. My sympathy and hugs to her family and beloved dogs.
Veronica Kraushaar
October 6, 2014
Words that come to mind thinking about Bonnie...Music, New Orleans, The Subdudes, Dorrie, Porter, great food, laughter, More Music, more great food, style, dancing, joy, great strength, more great food and dancing, living life to the fullest!
My condolences to the family and all of us who loved Bonnie and Bonnie's love for life.
Betty Rosen Ziff
October 6, 2014
So sorry for the loss of such a wonderful person. She will be missed. Darlene & Jim Sidari
Jim Sidari
October 6, 2014
My brother Gene D'Amico was a very close friend of Bonnie's in the 80's. We lost Gene last September 4. Now they can renew their friendship in the astral world together.
Blessings to your family,
Steve
Steven D'Amico
October 6, 2014
I first met Bonnie when I helped build her sonoma home. We became close over the years but particularly over the most recent 5 years we seemed to truly connect. I felt a deep loving friendship albeit with only fragmented time together. Her warmth, caring, honesty, and passion along with her friendship will be missed. My personal world is markedly less without her in it . My deepest sympathies & warmest wishes to all her family, gary, and the wealth of friends who will feel her loss the most.
Jim Gade
October 5, 2014
I only knew and loved Bonnie through Gary's beautiful words of this lovely woman and Bonnie's wonderful biscotti. I look forward to meeting Bonnie in heaven. Many blessings for all family, friends and Gary.
Betty Cintas
October 5, 2014
The D'Amico Family sends their deepest condolences. Bonnie will be remembered as a wonderful friend and an inspiration to all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her loving family. God Bless You, Bonnie.
October 5, 2014
God has a new angel who will continue to shine her light upon us. Bonnie we are blessed to have know you and better peope because we did.
Daniela, every time I met with your mom, she always talked about you, how proud she is of you and how much she loved you. She always referred to you as"my girl"....

Sending love wraped in hugs,
Melanie Jones
October 5, 2014
Our family shares profound grief for this loss, and also boundless gratitude for years of love and friendship with Bonnie and her wonderful family, for delicious dinners and laughter around the table, and for "Tanti bei ricordi!"
Marilyn and Randy Chase
October 4, 2014
Carolyn Phillips
October 4, 2014
Some people touch our lives only briefly...while others leave a lasting impression and are never forgotten. One becomes truly immortal when she is loved and remembered by all who were dear to her.

Heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

Carolyn
Carolyn Phillips
October 4, 2014
To the Marcheschis, from the Thoresons (Barbara, Don, Lori, and Maurice)--we were neighbors, classmates, and "girl" friends in Burlingame as well as neighbors in Sonoma. Our hearts and thoughts are with you upon hearing the news of Bonnie's brave struggle. She is in peace, and we will remember always her shy smile, sweet laugh, and lovely grace. Fondly, Lori and Family
October 3, 2014
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