Its rich gastronomic history is just one reason why Italy is one of the most-visited countries in the world, but you don’t have to book a flight to partake in an authentic Italian feast. Yummy Bazaar has everything you need to transport yourself to the land of indulgence from home, starting with pasta and ending with the sweet stuff. In this guide, we’re covering the end of the meal with all the most luscious cioccolato hailing from the boot.
Italy is famous for its rich, creamy chocolate creations, many of which are produced using centuries-old recipes. Like all the country’s exports, Italian chocolate is made meticulously using finely honed techniques and locally sourced ingredients. By combining premium cacao beans and ingredients like luscious hazelnuts, these legendary Italian chocolatiers produce some of the world’s best chocolate treats.
Types of Italian Chocolate
There are many special chocolate candies and cookies that come to us from Italy. Among the must-try varieties are gianduja, torrone and cremino.
- Gianduja is a creamy concoction made from hazelnut paste and chocolate that is served as a spread or added to tasty Italian cookies and candies. Gianduja must contain at least 20 percent hazelnut by law. This differentiates it from the less-nutty Nutella, gianduja’s younger cousin. Be sure to try gianduja by its original maker, Caffarel, as well as Dolciaria Monardo, Sperlari and Venchi.
- Torrone is a nougat confection made with egg whites, sugar, honey and, often, chocolate. It is a popular component of many of the most beloved Italian candy bars and sweets. The best brands for chocolate torrone candies include Sperlari, Borgo de Medici, Venchi and Scaldaferro.
- Cremino is a chocolate treat featuring three layers. The two outer layers are made of gianduja, while the inner layer is typically made of a paste flavored with coffee, fruit or hazelnuts. The best brands to try if you’re in the mood for cremino include Venchi and Giraudi.
The Best Italian Chocolatiers
If you’ve got a sweet tooth and want to see what Italian chocolate is all about, start by checking out some of the products made by the best Italian chocolate-makers. Unsurprisingly, many of these chocolatiers are based in the Piedmont region, home to the town of Turin, the so-called “Capital of Chocolate.” Piedmont is also one of the country’s biggest hazelnut-producing regions, which is why the earthy nut is such a common ingredient in Italian chocolate.
- Perugina — Founded in Perugia, Umbria in 1907, Perugina is famous for its many chocolate creations. In 1922, Perugina co-founder Luisa Spagnoli repurposed leftover chocolate and hazelnuts to create Perugina’s most famous treat — Baci. These tasty chocolate truffles feature delicious chocolate kisses filled with hazelnut.
- Caffarel — Founded in Turin in 1826, Caffarel has long been an innovator in chocolate production. In fact, its founder Pier Paul Caffarel is credited with inventing gianduja, supposedly to help offset the high cost of imported cocoa beans. Caffarel is also famous for inventing individually foil-wrapped chocolates, starting with its popular gianduiotti candies.
- Sperlari — Founded in Cremona, Lombardy in 1836, Sperlari is a generations-old Italian chocolatier famous for its soft Italian torrone. Sperlari Zanzibar chocolate — a decadent bar of hard or soft torrone with hazelnuts or almonds — is one of the maker’s most popular offerings.
- Dolciaria Monardo — Now in its third generation in business, Dolciaria Monardo is a Calabrian chocolate maker well-known for their authentic Italian chocolates and baked goods.
- Kinder — Most Americans are already familiar with the chocolate brand Kinder, with its ultra-popular Surprise and Joy eggs, Happy Hippos and Bueno wafer bars. Due to its ubiquity in the U.S., many people are surprised to learn that Kinder is an Italian company. In fact, it was first introduced in Alba, Italy in 1968.
- Venchi — Founded in Turin in 1878, Venchi is a beloved gourmet chocolatier that rose to fame thanks to its nougatine candies made of dark chocolate coated caramelized hazelnuts. Today, Venchi has more than 350 chocolate recipes, including everything from chocolate bars to cocoa powder for baking. Many of their recipes incorporate cremino and gianduja.
The above list is just a small snippet of the amazing Italian sweets we have in store at Yummy Bazaar. Be sure to explore our complete selection to discover mouthwatering biscotti and cantuccini, panettone, candied fruit and so much more.