Chocolate Talk with Giselle Weybrecht | I EAT Food Tours featured on Ultimate Hot Chocolate
If you would like to join our virtual table, we will be delighted to share with you some beautiful stories about the charming chocolate universe made in Turin, Italy.
A great virtual hot chocolate is included, as a matter of course.
Both Chef Abram and I believe that chocolate it’s like art: it opens up a world of possibilities and interpretations. That’s one of the reasons why we both are in love with it. And of course very happy to introduce you our creative way to showcase the chocolate-heaven made in Turin during our chocolate tour!
Whether you just like chocolate, or you truly are devoted to the God’s nectar, we warmly suggest you to read the article that Giselle has published on her blog, in which you’ll find a nice interview where we unveil some interesting insight about Turin and its everlasting affair with chocolate.
Meantime, please savour some tasty sips of our talk with Giselle.
Why is Torino a must visit destination for chocolate lovers?
It is necessary to go back in time to answer this question. As for many iconic culinary delights that travel through time preserving their fame, chocolate is for sure one of the most legendary ones that is very linked with the Royal House of Savoy, notoriously known for a very refined palate and a gourmet spirit. And so it seems that, when it comes to chocolate, we must give our thanks to Emanuele Filiberto I of Savoy. He was captain general of the Spanish army, and transferred the capital of his duchy from Chambery to Turin.
What does that have to do with chocolate? Well, according to a thesis, this Savoy may have been the first to make chocolate in Italy . In fact, in the mid-sixteenth century he would have received cocoa from the Emperor Charles V as a gift for the victory of San Quentin over the French. Then the marriages of the Savoy with the Infante of Spain and the French princesses, who brought with them cooks, pastry chefs and courtiers, made Turin one of the European capitals of chocolate processing. In 1678 the so called drink of the gods became more common, when Antonio Arri received the “gracious” royal permission to: “publicly sell the chocolate drink for six years from the date of the present”.
From then on, the chocolate mania truly bloomed! Chocolate becomes a piece of the costume of the time, with a whole series of meanings and part of various ceremonies. Chocolate was born in the cup. The ritual of preparing and serving chocolate was widespread both in the living rooms both at the court and at the charming chocolate and coffee houses of Turin’s centre. Many of those are still existing and are now recognised as Historical Places of Italy. Consuming chocolate was an exclusive – and exquisite – privilege reserved to the royals and aristocrats only.
Before attending at the so to speak democratisation process of chocolate we must wait until the invention of the first chocolate solid cube (also invented in Turin) and of course the technological advancement and the industrialisation of production have also contributed to let the chocolate word be spread out – and tasted – by a way larger audience of chocolate lovers.
Hazelnuts and chocolate seem to always go together in Torino. Why is that?
That’s so true! There are so many local specialities that have the hazelnuts from Piedmont as one of their main ingredients. From the iconic gianduiotti and cremini, to several legendary biscuits or even cakes. Not to mention Nutella! (invented by the visionary Michele Ferrero). Hazelnut is a sort of can’t miss ingredient when it comes to our sweet tradition.
Of course there’s a valid reason why the so called Nocciola Tonda Gentile delle Langhe has become so central In the most famous chocolate recipes such as Gianduia (hazelnut+cocoa spread) and Gianduiotti. You should know that chocolate was born by chance mid-19th century as a fortuitous expedient made by the Turin chocolatiers to overcome the difficulty of obtaining cocoa following the continental blockade imposed by Napoleon.
The chocolatiers began by adding roasted hazelnuts to the mixture of cocoa and sugar to varying degrees, but the chocolate made with “Gianduia” paste was officially born only in 1865 in a laboratory in Piazza San Carlo, thanks to the creativity of chocolatiers Caffarel and Prochet. The addition of hazelnuts, initially made clandestinely (they were considered adulterants), began to be officially declared only at the beginning of the 1900s, with the disclosure of the secret recipe for hazelnut chocolate “called Gianduia”.
Hazelnut in combination with chocolate is simply ecstatic. It’s an emblem of singular uniqueness, which the Italian confectionery industry offers to the world market as an exquisite example of its centuries-old culture.
What happens during your chocolate tour?
Our chocolate tours aim at giving you edible art and emotion, a truly sensory and chocolicious bliss. When four years ago we designed our chocolate tours in Turin we wanted the old and the new spirit melt together (just to stay on topic). That means we created a multilayered experience of pleasure and discovery that allows you to learn about the history of Turin’s chocolate and how this product defines locals’ identity by also being a significant part of our lifestyle. All that in a contemporary, interactive, engaging and -last but not least- delicious way. Of course then come the moment where you meet the small handpicked botteghe del cioccolato, where local artisans and inventive chocolate makers create their magic and are enthusiast to tell you of their vision and creations.
The chocolate tour designed by I EAT Food Tours and Events allows you to explore kind of secret gems of the city centre and it skips the touristic spots. We built a strong emotional connection with our soulmates clients (this is how we usually refer to those who choose us) through food… and chocolate, that is a special food category.
When you join our chocolate tour you not just taste unique top notch chocolate delights – both classics and contemporary. You also become a part of a whole food design experience consisting of many parts: pleasure, belonging, identity, adventure, discovery, enrichment, imagination…
And so, how does this sound? Tempting enough?
Please, visit her blog to enjoy the entire talk.
Oh, and for the real deal and magic, come visit Turin and join us on a glorious chocolate adventure of its kind… we are sure you’ll fall madly in love both with the city and its most sweet soul made of chocolate, of course, but also of a large variety of sweet treats that are about to colour your experience with many flavours…
From the top going to the right:
– Gianduiotti chocolates: The famous gianduiotto is a chocolate in the shape of a wedge or inverted boat, obtained by mixing cocoa, sugar and the famous round gentle hazelnuts of Piedmont. It’s the first chocolate ever wrapped and it was born in Turin in 1865 ca.
–Mini Panna Cotta: Panna cotta is a dessert of Piedmontese origin that represents a great classic of Italian cuisine.
–Mini Bunet: It’s a pudding belonging to the ancient Piedmontese tradition, today prepared on the entire regional territory, same as for the panna cotta dessert, whose origin is traced back to the Langhe area.
The name Bunet perhaps comes from the “bonnet” – a cap similar to the beret, very common in the past. As a matter of fact both the shape and the color of the cake kind of recall it. The main ingredients of this traditional recipe are: eggs, sugar, amaretti and chocolate. Chocolate that was added to the original recipe only in the 18th century.
–Ferrero Rocher? Well, yes but no. This is the artisanal version of one of the most amazing chocolate treats ever invented, known practically everywhere in the world. For the very few who still don’t know what is Ferrero Rocher, that is a chocolate and hazelnut confection introduced in 1979 and produced by the Italian company Ferrero (from Alba, Piedmont!). Michele Ferrero is credited as the product’s creator.
– Lady’s Kiss, aka Bacio di dama: this is my favorite biscuit! There are those who believe that the biscuit called Bacio di dama represents the union of the lips, being formed by two discs of dough welded together by jam, cream or chocolate. Others based on the ingredients that compose it, justify the name by linking it to the sweet female mouth.
If we want to indicate some date of birth, we can place it at the end of the nineteenth century. Contesa, located between Liguria and Piedmont, is the area of origin. The recipe, which prescribed almonds, butter and sugar, crossed over into the neighboring areas, giving rise to the many Italian variants. In Piedmont the most known version is made with the local hazelnuts, often proposed mixed together with cocoa. In the picture you have them both.
-“Ugly but good”, aka brutti ma buoni cookies. These ones are cute, not ugly at all! And they for sure are delicious in their simplicity. The name indicates the coarse dough and the irregular and rough appearance that accompanies the delicate flavor of these sweets typical of the north-west area, not just Piedmont region. The recipe involves the use of many egg whites, which are the secret of the product’s lightness, and also sugar, hazelnuts, almonds and vanillin.
And the orange thingy in the middle? That’s an apricot mousse flavoured with lavender: doesn’t look gorgeous? The combination of flavour is very nice and the colour sparks joy! Like all our food designed experiences!
I do really hope you joined these small bites and sips of goodness. Again, you’re welcome to visit us in Turin and do not forget to visit Giselle’s blog http://ultimatehotchocolate.com/
May your day be as good as Turin’s chocolate! 🙂
Love and Blessings,
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