Last night I spent a delightful evening with my friends Jess and Lydia in Angelica’s learning about and tasting Italian artisan chocolate Guido Gobino. The evening was presented by the beautiful Loredana Ligori from their marketing team- a fountain of history, knowledge and passion- who spoke to us about the chocolate history of Turin, Italy, the ethos of Guido Gobino and talked us through a number of the companies most popular and some of the newest chocolates.
The Artisanal Chocolate Factory was born in 1946 and in around 1985 Guido Gobino came into the business and has been continuing the family tradition ever since. His aim was (and still is) to bring innovation to their products whilst respecting the traditional chocolate recipes from history rich Turin. So his first task was working on the icon of Turinese chocolate, the Giandujotto.
Due to a cocoa importing blockade imposed by Napoleon, chocolate makers in Turin had to create a new recipe and had the genius idea of replacing the cocoa with their regional Piedmont Hazelnuts, ground into a paste. And so, in 1865, the classic Gianduja recipe was created. Now a days this contains 30% of protected geographical indication (PGI) piedmont hazelnuts, has a flipped boat shape and is covered in gold wrapping.
The flipboat shape, rather than being created by moulds rendering every unit the same, is created via Extrusion so each unit is slightly different which I think really adds some character.
This was the first chocolate we tasted and it was delicious! You can really taste the difference when the ingredients are such good quality, and when you compare it to the big brand name, low quality chocolate we eat everyday that we buy cheap in the shops it’s almost laughable! It will be hard to go back to cheap chocolate after tasting these treats!
The next chocolate we tasted was my absolute favourite of the night and the one I ended up taking away with me. Personally I’ve never tried salt chocolate before which is probably why the Cremino al Sale made such an impact. Cremino al Sale is enriched with Integral Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Liguria. In 2008 it was even named Best Praline in the World from the London Academy of Chocolate- a high honor indeed! This is creamy and hazelnutty as you eat, and afterwards leaves a salty taste in the mouth which leaves me wanting to devour another and another and another!
Then on to Aromatic Chocolate- yum! These chocolates are infused with essential oils adding both a beautiful taste and scent. Due to the essential oils these chocolates can only be packaged in boxes of the same type (as you can see in the photo above, the white and the dark are separate whereas other chocolates come in mixed boxes)- you can’t have a box mixed with some peppermint and some cinnamon (for example) as the essence will mix and merge.
On the left is the white Semisfera Cioccolato Bianco Menta- infused with Panalieri Peppermint Essential Oil which comes from Pancalieri near to Turin. I’m not a fan of white chocolate at all- it doesn’t give me the satisfaction that milk and dark chocolate give me but this was really enjoyable. It was light and fresh and the circular shape split perfectly in half is super smooth and pleasing!
On the right is the Semisfera Cioccolato Extra Bitter Cannella with 63% blend dark cocoa.
“Spiced and warm notes of Ceylon Cinnamon emphasize the balance and elegance of the Dark Blend Chocolate.”
Ohmygosh- I like cinnamon in moderation and this had just enough to incite the taste and smell of Christmas! I find dark chocolate can sometimes be a bit too bitter to enjoy but despite being ‘extra bitter’ this was lovely, and the Christmas feeling it left me with was most welcome.
I think ginger is something most people either love or hate. I really like it although it does make me think of sushi, so it was odd eating a chocolate that reminded me of fish! Ginger Fondente is made with dried and candied ginger from Thailand covered with dark chocolate.
And lastly, as our chocolate meal was coming to a close, we tried two brand new digestive products. Extra bitter 63% blend dark chocolate filled with the Formula Antica Vermouth Classic and extra bitter chocolate 63% dark blend with stuffed Campari. Infuriatingly I can’t remember which was which (one was red, one was gold) but I went for the gold and loved it, and Lydia went for the red and loved that one too. These really would be the perfect after dinner finale and I think I’ll be grabbing a box or two for my Mum for Christmas!
All of these chocolates plus many many more from Guido Gobino are stocked in Angelica’s in Valletta. Angelica’s is somewhere you should visit anyway (see my review here) but if you’re in to chocolate you must pick up something from Guido Gobino- you will not be disappointed. It’s obviously not cheap- I picked up a 16 pack of the Cremino al Sale which was €15.90- but the products are great quality, the ingredients are the best of the best and the history in each is inspiring. These would make perfect gifts this Christmas!
And whilst you’re there you MUST try a hot chocolate- best on the island, made with actual melted chocolate. I went for the milk this time and I didn’t want it to end.
Find Angelica’s on facebook here– and if you do go, please please mention the blog sent you! It’s so nice for me to know people are reading and enjoying my reviews and it’s great for Angelica’s to know how far word of mouth can spread!
Also be sure to like Guido Gobino here!