Italian chocolate brands

Lesly Berger says in “The Gourmet’s Guide to Chocolate”: “If you think Italy can only produce great wine and pasta, wait till you discover their chocolate”. Berger describes Italian chocolate as “smooth, subtle and sophisticated, sweet without being cloying.” The Italian term for chocolate is cioccolato and gianduia refers specifically to the combination of hazelnut and chocolate. There are many famous and not so famous makers of Italian chocolate. Let’s review some of their brands. As it is often the case in Italy, there are regional preferences and rivalries. By the way, Italy is home of the world’s most expensive chocolate.

Amedei (Tuscany) – This company has a vast product line, but it is also know for what is perhaps the world’s most expensive chocolate: Amedei Porcelana.

Caffarel (Piedmont) – This old Italian brand is now owned by Lindt. The product is still the same traditional Italian chocolate, often rich in hazelnuts and great for holiday giving.

Ferrero (Piedmont) – Pietro Ferrero’s company enjoyed initial success in the late 1940s due to the introduction of spreadable gianduia, now known as Nutella in most parts of the world. Apart from the obvious Ferrero Rocher brand, the company also produces such popular chocolates as Mon Chéri, Giotto, Raffaello and Kinder Surprise.

Ghirardelli – This chocolate maker only traces its origins to Italy where Domenico Ghirardelli was born in 1817. Be careful not to give these chocolates to someone as if they were actually Italian!

Modica – Modica itself is not a brand, but a protected geographical name for a particular type of chocolate. This crumbly product comes from Modica, Sicily and is represented by several minor brands such as: Artigiana, Capello, Casalindolci, Dolce Arte, Prodotti Tipici Iblei and Rizza.

Pernigotti (Piedmont) – A manufacturer of high quality gianduiotto, one of the oldest chocolate making companies in Italy. There may not exist a more traditionally Italian chocolate than Pernigotti.

Perugina (Umbria) – founded in 1907, this company is best known for Baci (“kisses”) chocolates that contain multilingual love notes. Perugina is now owned by Nestlé.

Peyrano (Turin) – the maker of Dolci Momenti a Torino (Sweet Moments in Turin) and grappini (grappa-filled chockolates).

Venchi (Turin) – Gourmet chocolate manufacturer founded in 1878. Many of the company’s products follow traditional regional recipes.

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