Italy may not be synonymous with chocolate in the way that Switzerland is, but it does produce one of the world’s most recognizable brands: Perugina Baci. Wrapped in silver foil dotted with blue stars and lined with a love note, the chocolate and hazelnut morsels known as Baci are the fortune cookies of the chocolate world.
Perugina, the company that manufactures Baci and a handful of other chocolate brands, is named after and based in Perugia, capital of the Italian region of Umbria and the home of Italy’s biggest chocolate festival: Eurochocolate. Each October, more than 100 artisan chocolatiers and European chocolate companies, such as Lindt, Milka, and Toblerone, set up shop along Corso Vannucci, Perugia’s main street, for nine days of chocolate tasting, cooking demonstrations, and clever exhibitions and activities centered around chocolate. For example, with each edition Eurochocolate features sculptures carved from blocks of cacao, ranging from medieval statues to chocolate representations of Italy’s major landmarks. During Eurochocolate, visitors can sign up for all-chocolate spa days or visit participating local restaurants to indulge in entire meals made from chocolate.
Eurochocolate 2011 begins on October 14 and runs through October 23. If you’re unable to catch Eurochocolate in Perugia, both Rome and Turin present their own Eurochocolate festivals at other times of the year.
Photo © Eurochocolate Perugia