"Cioccolato" is Italian for chocolate, and "chocolat" is French, of course. Do you think of Italy and France when you think of imported chocolate? Most people would probably make the foreign chocolate connection with Switzerland or Belgium. But it's February, and a certain holiday associated with romance and chocolate is approaching. Italian and French are probably the most romantic of the Romance languages. Why waste your time and money on generic gifts at Hallmark or Godiva (owned and operated by the American soup giant Campbell's) when you can spend the next week learning a few charming phrases in Italian or French to murmur to your sweetie when you present an original, thoughtful gift of the finest Italian or French chocolate?
Today I'll review some Italian options, and tomorrow, we'll venture to France.
Torino, Italy is home to one of the most famous little hazelnut chocolates in the world, with that distinctive triangular shape and gold wrapper. Giandujotto Classico
by Guido Gobino are dangerously addictive - much like Nutella, which has a similar flavor. Giandujotto are firmer and richer than any hazelnut spread, and carefully portioned into pieces just right for two delicious melt-in-your-mouth bites - perfect for sharing with someone special.
I've already mentioned L'Artigiano's hot chocolate blends, but they also produce gourmet chocolate bars and truffles. Their award-winning Sale Dolce
(sweet salt) bars in milk and dark chocolate are simply exquisite. If you like chocolate covered pretzels or peanuts, (or even chocolate covered potato chips!) you like the taste combination of salty and sweet. Cut out the middleman (the pretzel, peanut, etc.) and try some of the best artisan chocolate from Italy with sweet salt of Cervia blended in perfect proportion so as not to overpower each other.
Another unique taste experience from L'Artigiano can be found in a small ivory box containing their Formaggio di Fossa e Albana Passito truffles
(or, as they call them, "tesori," or treasures). These little dark chocolate confections contain aged cheese and dessert wine - a savory combination to satisfy a connoisseur, or maybe just someone with an adventurous palate.