Italy has a great variety of desserts, probably more than anyone could ever even think of. However, nothing beats some good old classic chocolate. Chocolate originated in the Americas but has since spread across the globe, and like with most things that arrive in Italy, Italians took it and made it their own. Here are the places to go to find the best Italian chocolates.
The process of making chocolate was brought to the island of Sicily in the 16th-century. From this ancient tradition arose Modica Chocolate, or cioccolato di Modica. This chocolate often has intense flavors due to the red peppers, cinnamon, coffee, and even citrus. Sicilian chocolate also tends to have a grainy texture due to the smaller amounts of cocoa butter used during the process.
The Chocolate Valley
The Chocolate Valley refers to the area from Prato to Pisa in the Tuscan region. The chocolate valley has produced some of the world’s most famous chocolatiers like Andrea Sliti, the first Italian to win the Grand Prix de la Chocolaterie in Paris. Every year there are chocolate exhibitions held throughout the region like Fiera del Cioccolato in Florence or CioccoSi in Siena.
Chocolate came to the Piedmont region with Catherine of Spain, who married the Duke of Savoy, Charles Emmanuel I, at the end of the 1500s. Originally, the delicious creation was a drink with the first chocolate cafe opening in 1678. Turin eventually became the country’s leading producer of chocolate and was even the birthplace of the processing machine that allowed for the creation of chocolate bars. Over the years, many popular chocolate brands have gotten their start in the region, including Ferrero Rocher.
Naples is home to the delicious confection of ministeriali, a chocolate medallion with a creamy filling. It comes in two shapes, and the recipe is a family secret closely guarded by the ancestors of Francesco Scaturchio, the dessert’s creator. Additionally, the city also houses the Gay-Odin chocolate line, created by Isidoro Odin and his wife Onorina Gay. Their chocolate was a favorite of author Oscar Wilde and comedian Eduardo De Filippo.
Perugia is home to the country’s most important chocolate festival, Eurochocolate, as well as the Casa del Cioccolato, the chocolate museum. The Perugina chocolate company was started in the city and the Pasticceria Sandri, one of the oldest pasticceria’s in the country. The shop is still run by the Schucani family, who arrived in Italy from Switzerland in the 1800s.
- Six Italian Candy Capitals [Select Italy]
- Italian Towns for Chocolate Lovers [Slow Italy]
- The Chocolate Valley [Visit Tuscany]
- Feature Picture [Need Pix]