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[IT] Chocolate in Torino

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The origin of Piedmont chocolate is unusual. Under Napoleonic rule, cocoa had become both expensive and almost impossible to source, creating huge difficulties for Turin’s chocolate making traditions. As part of continuing efforts to provide quality products that could meet the public’s exacting standards, Michele Prochet and Pier Paul Caffarel introduced a new type of chocolate to the market, created through a precise blend of cocoa and sugar with Tonda Gentile delle Langhe hazelnuts, renowned for their taste and quality.


The outcome was so successful that Caffarel decided to refine the product further. First with the introduction of the distinctive upturned boat shape and then with a further innovation… wrapping the chocolate for the first time. Following its birth, the new chocolate was given the name "givù", a term taken from Piedmontese dialect which translates as “small delicacy".


The source of the term, Gianduiotto or Giandujotto, seems to stem from a carnival in 1866, when an actor dressed as a Gianduja (wearing a traditional Turin mask) had the idea of handing the famous chocolates to the crowd. This gesture served to provide the chocolates with a symbolic value, embodying the tenacious and pragmatic spirit and character of the carnival that seemed to say "the cocoa shortage doesn’t matter. We, the Turinese, will go on and we won’t stop for anything."


The instantly recognisable shape of the Gianduiotto of Turin is crafted through a technique known as extrusion that sees the chocolate cast directly onto slates, without the use of moulds. Themixture demands a specific consistency, neither too solid nor too fluid, so as to ensure the exact quantity: no more than 12 grams per piece. The key ingredients: cocoa from Central or South America, cocoa butter, roasted Piedmont hazelnuts (I gp purity) purchased whole or in paste form and used in quantities of no less than 25%; vanilla beans or pure vanilla extract; sugar derived from either sugar beet or sugar cane.


The end result is unmistakable, not only in shape, but also in taste: a delicate and fragrant chocolate hazelnut that gently melts in your mouth.



<a href="http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/viamichelin/gbr/search/Datasheet/08be0a75cbbae192ec07f9d05aa6849d/125194/Gianduiotto%20of%20Turin,%20a%20history%20of%20quality" target="_blank">Is this perfection?</a>

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  • 2 years later...

Wasn't sure whether to post this in the Italy forum, General, or Baking & Desserts, so here it goes. This morning, the first part in a series of articles on gianduia appeared on DallasFood.org. What you see in Rail Paul's excerpt above (updated link here) reflects, for the most part, the conventional view of gianduia's origins. Those who are able to stay awake through this series will see much of that account questioned.



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Torino is also the home of the Bicerin, a wonderful concoction of coffee and chocolate. Torino's quite nice, visited last fall; seems off the beaten path of American tourists, but a wonderful place to visit. Also home of the original Eataly, which was fabulous.

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