How the Gianduiotto, the famous little chocolate from Turin, came about

The history of the Gianduiotto, Turin’s traditional little chocolate, dates back much further than you might think. Let’s discover the story together.

How the Gianduiotto, the famous little chocolate from Turin, came about

Date of publication: 26/11/2016

Once upon a time, before the Gianduiotto was ‘born’, there was a cocoa bean in Turin...

Gianduiotto e Semi di cacao

The people of Turin had already been seduced by the flavour of cocoa three centuries before the Gianduiotto was first created. Turin’s relationship with chocolate began in the mid-sixteenth century, in 1559 to be exact: on his return from Le Cateau-Cambrésis, where the peace treaty of the same name which marked the end of a turbulent period known as the Italy Wars was signed, Emmanuel Philibert brought the very first cocoa beans to Piedmont.

The Turin people fell in love with this new commodity! Initially, and for many years, consumption of chocolate was limited to the beverage made using the beans, and the world had to wait until 1826 for the first real and proper chocolate. Businessman Paul Caffarel, owner of a factory that produced sweet products in Turin, developed a machine capable of producing the first chocolate. The composition of the chocolate, thought up by the Waldensian confectioner, was simply cocoa, water, sugar and vanilla..

From Caffarel to Prochet, with a pinch of Langa...

Nocciola e cioccolato, il gianduiotto si avvicina

The practice of combining cocoa with various other ingredients became a necessity. This was consequent of an international crisis: the Continental Blockade, decreed by Napoleon Bonaparte. With this foreign policy in place, Napoleon obstructed all English ships from docking in territory under French reign for approximately ten years. And the English were the main importers of cocoa... Adding other ingredients to the cocoa supply became almost obligatory! And if you think that up until 1700 chocolatiers in Turin produced around 350kg of chocolate each day...

Cioccolato e Gianduiotto

Twenty years later, Caffarel’s chocolate encountered the inspiration of Michele Prochet. It was at that point that the Piedmontese hazelnut variety known as ‘Tonda Gentile di Langa’ came into play: Prochet added a kind of cream to the chocolate, made by grinding hazelnuts into a paste. This new recipe was perfected in 1865 and the chocolate produced according to this new method was made available to the public for the first time. It was Gianduja, the famous Piedmontese Carnival mask, that threw the ‘Givò’ (Piedmontese for cigar butts), sweets shaped like an upturned boat, to a crowd during a procession. These creamy chocolates were named after Gianduja, going on to become the legendary Gianduiotti!

Gianduja e Gianduiotto

Ph. credits: wikipedia.com

The painting Gianduja e Giandujotto pictured above is a work by the Torinese painter Walter Jervolino.

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