Chocolate is a food appreciated and loved by people from all over the world and of all ages. There are really many varieties of chocolate. For example, the classic milk, dark or white flavors. In addition, over the years, various special combinations have been created, such as chocolate with orange, chili pepper, or mint. But real chocolate is essentially made up of five ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and soy lecithin.
Artisanal or industrial chocolate is one of the most consumed foods. Derived from the seeds of the cocoa tree and of ancient origins, for its pleasant taste, it has immediately conquered the hearts (and palates) of the whole world.
Consumed “consciously”, chocolate is a food that is good for and satisfies not only the palate but also the mind. Suffice it to consider that, due to its beneficial properties, its ability to lift the mood, and its delicious taste, the cocoa plant has been renamed the food of the Gods.
The history of the origin of cocoa has very ancient roots and begins even 3000 years ago thanks to the Olmenchi, a population of Mexico, and then continues with the Maya, who were the first to prepare a drink based on cocoa beans that came during the course of sacred ceremonies to priests and nobles. For the Aztecs, however, cocoa had not only beneficial but also aphrodisiac properties.
From these ancient populations and through the centuries, chocolate has come down to us in different forms (bars, spreads, pralines, to name the most famous), flavors (white, milk, dark, citrus flavored, chili pepper, etc …), and even colors (just think of pink chocolate, very popular in recent times).
Let’s find out now which are the best brands that produce the best chocolate in Italy.
That of Domori is a story that begins in 1997 when the Piedmontese company decided to focus on the production of chocolate by re-evaluating fine cocoa. It is no coincidence that Domori is the first chocolate company to use this type for its delicious creations which, precisely because of this characteristic, are of the highest quality. This company was also the first to produce with the most prized Criollo cocoa. It should also be emphasized that Domoro boasts two other firsts: that of scrupulously controlling the production chain, starting with plantations in South America and South Africa, and that of owning its own plantation. It is not for everyone to administer with such skill what, in practice, is pure cocoa mass. In the “Blend Line” bars, made with Criollo cocoa, the percentage rises up to 100%. Moreover, Domori never disappoints with its Christmas collections: among tablets and chocolates packaged ad hoc, the themed kits stand out. The “breakfast of gluttons”, for example, with 3 spreadable creams (gianduja, pistachio and hazelnuts) and acacia honey, or the “after dinner” kit, with cocoa beans and Domorum (Criollo cocoa brandy). And then the maxi “Cremino”, the “Natale Perseo” selection with maxi Gianduiotto and “Napolitains”: there is something for all tastes and budgets.
Guido Castagna is also among the Italian excellences, awarded for 6 consecutive years at the International Chocolate Awards. This Turin-based company stands out for the scrupulous attention with which the entire manufacturing process is followed, from the selection of the cocoa beans, to the arrival in the laboratory, where a slow and respectful process of tradition is performed. Suffice it to say that Castagna, before processing the chocolate, ages it for 6 months. Among its most famous products are truffles, “bassinati” and, above all, “cremini”, with two layers of gianduja and a filling of hazelnut paste. The craftsman from Giaveno, in the province of Turin, employs a meticulous production system, from the purchase of cocoa beans in cooperatives and certified companies, to the packaging of products in made in Italy containers. The result are products with an often prodigious aromatic profile as in the case of “cremini”. Made with gianduia and hazelnut pasta, they are then covered with dark chocolate. Guido Castagna is one of those who control every step of the production, and who, in fact, ages the chocolate for six months before processing it.
Amedei creates harmony among ingredients, textures and aromas, giving life to chocolates with a unique aromatic profile. An Italian know-how, in which elegance, simplicity and passion for chocolate come together in a taste that recalls the magic of Tuscany. Amedei is today one of the leading Italian companies in the production of artisan chocolate. This company also works by following the production process with meticulous attention and choosing only the highest quality raw materials, such as hazelnuts and pistachio from Bronte, an ingredient that has recently been used for the creation of white chocolate-based specialties. The strength of Amedei, however, are the dark chocolates: his is the best dark chocolate on the market, a delight prepared with Venezuelan cocoa. Panettone with dark chocolate, hazelnut cream, various types of bars: Amedei’s repertoire is rich and assorted, but for a truly special gift the best solution is the “Golden Seed”, an elegant package with a taste of all the specialties at a cost of 100 euros. Inside, you will find the company’s flagship products: the 50-gram “Porcelana”, the squares of white chocolate filled with Bronte pistachios, the “Prendimé”, the Tuscan spreadable cream and much more. A gift for true connoisseurs.
The Slitti company was founded as a coffee roasting company in 1969 and is, to date, one of the best known and most appreciated artisan chocolate shops in the world: just think that its products are present in 25 Countries. Andrea Slitti started from the deep knowledge of coffee, the result of years of experience, to create perfect chocolate, balanced and flavored at the right point. It all begins with coffee, but Slitti’s name has long been synonymous with great chocolate. The 2020 Christmas catalog is full of tasty and carefully packaged surprises: you can opt, for example, for the “Bosco Incantato” line, refined boxes in soft colors, or the “Elegant Orange”, played on shades of orange and gold . The offer is wide, it is difficult to choose the best one. The quality of the content, in any case, is guaranteed. Coming from Central America, selected from different plantations, the cocoa beans of Slitti chocolate give life to high quality chocolate bars. For some time now, the chocolate shop in the province of Pistoia, in Tuscany, has not used African cocoa because it considers the quality of the Central American one to be better.
Guido Gobino is another Piedmontese excellence. Specialized in the production of pralines, in 2008 the Academy of Chocolate in London voted its “Cremino” with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil as “the best praline in the world”. But this is not his only specialty: in addition to the Cremino, the company’s flagships are also the classic “Giandujotto” and the “Giandujotto Tourinot” which, unlike the traditional recipe, has a little milk in addition. One of Guido Gobino’s strengths is the choice of raw materials which, among other Countries, also come from Venezuela, Ecuador and Mexico. Gobino is also the inventor of the “Turinot”, a small chocolate made of Piedmont IGP hazelnuts in percentages that rise to 40 percent, with milk, without or with coffee from excellent artisan roasters. Gobino is therefore one of the reference brands for excellent chocolate in Italy. Its “Gianduiotti” are famous, but for Christmas a nice gift idea are the Gift Boxes, available in various sizes and prices, from 35 to 150 Euros. The smallest includes the “Tourinot” spreadable cream and the cube with the four variations of gianduiotto: classic with Piedmontese mountain milk, “Maximo” with selected cocoa from South America, “Maximo +39” with over 40% hazelnut Tonda e Gentile from Langhe, and the “Numero 10” with a dark character.
Awarded for eight consecutive years with the “Tavoletta d’Oro” for the best chocolate of Modica, Sabadì is a Sicilian company that has created exquisite and revolutionary variants of the classic Modica chocolate by producing flavored bars from the first cellar in the world for the refinement of chocolate. There are 7 types of aging proposed by Sabadì for chocolates in limited edition: tobacco, tea, flowers, herbs, spices, resins and barriques. Rare and precious products, from Perique and Latakia tobaccos to myrrh and Ethiopian olibanum, from Chinese smoked teas to the mandarin orange blossoms of its own citrus groves, without forgetting the wood of the barriques steeped in quality wines and spirits from all over the world. And then the aromas: 8 daring but rich in taste combinations, all organic products from Slow Food presidia (such as lemon, late mandarin from Ciaculli, white pepper from Sarawak and salt from Trapani) and from cultivations of blood orange, cinnamon and chilli pepper. Recipes which, thanks to rigorous and never hasty processes, give the chocolate a unique shine, compactness and flavor. The processing of cocoa is “cold”, to ensure that all the substances remain well present in the bars and other chocolates.
Venchi is a chocolate brand that is halfway between artisanal and industrial products precisely because of its excellent quality. The history of this Piedmontese brand begins in 1878 with Silvano Venchi who, starting from a small chocolate shop, started a reality that, to date, produces about 350 types of chocolate and exports all over the world. Already at the beginning of the twentieth century Venchi began to make itself known thanks to the production of one of the products that, still today, is linked to the company and identifies it: the “Nougatine”, a bon bon made of rigorously chopped, caramelized and covered with extra-dark chocolate: one of the specialties that made the company famous in the early 1900s and which is still one of the leading products. But there are many delights of this brand: just think of the spreads, the bars or the refined boxes of assorted chocolates. Over the years, the small artisan company transformed into an increasingly structured reality and in 2000 merged with another historical name, Cuba by Pietro Cussino, famous for its Rum “Cuneesi”: a dark chocolate shell that contains a soft rum cream. The dimensions change but the values remain the same: passion, quality, authenticity, reliability, ethics. Many recipes have remained the same as one century ago and most of the work is still done by hand by skilled craftsmen.
We continue our list with Caffarel, one of the oldest Italian companies. If Turin is recognized as one of the world capitals of chocolate it is also due to Paul Caffarel, who opened his laboratory in Turin, one of the first in the world in the production of chocolate. It was Caffarel himself, in 1865, who invented one of the Piedmontese and Italian chocolates par excellence known all over the world: the “Gianduiotto”. The secret of the products of this historic company are the raw materials used of undisputed quality. Gianduiotto has therefore become an icon of the taste of Turin by combining the exotic cocoa from Ecuador and Ghana with Piedmontese hazelnuts. What distinguishes a valuable chocolate is the finesse and Caffarel wanted to obtain a degree of finesse that has few equals in the world: the chocolate particles have a maximum size of 15 microns, creating a maximum finesse of taste. Caffarel has created a peculiar method for roasting, for processing, to obtain a soft and fragrant hazelnut paste to be mixed with chocolate. In addition to Gianduiotto, Caffarel produces “cremini”, chocolate bars, spreads, panettone, pandoro, candies and other products such as semi-finished products for pastry shops and ice cream shops. The distribution of Caffarel chocolates today reaches 40 foreign Countries: from Europe to America, from the Middle to the Far East.
Among the best Italian brands of industrial chocolate there is certainly Novi which after more than 100 years of history maintains its success unchanged by continuing the production in three factories. Novi was founded in 1903 in Novi Ligure, in Piedmont, as a cooperative that produced chocolate and similar jams, therefore also candies and sugared almonds, and then later on concentrating solely and exclusively on chocolate produced from Ecuadorian cocoa beans and exclusively Italian hazelnuts.This Piedmontese company produces 80 million bars and 200 million chocolates every year. For Novi, the secret of its success lies in the choice of high quality raw materials. It is no coincidence that it is the first brand in Italy for production volume. Novi also produces excellent quality spreads, with the best chocolate from the company and the freshest hazelnuts. Of course, various types of chocolate are produced, although the most noteworthy are in tablets. Among these is the “Nocciolato Novi”, which comes from the combination of pure chocolate and whole hazelnuts from the Piedmont hills. Novi represents the excellence and quality of Italian chocolate: from Ecuador cocoa beans to exclusively Italian hazelnuts, At the Novi Ligure plant controls of the entire supply chain has made with quality and passion.
Perugina is an Italian confectionery company based in Perugia, Umbria. The company established in 1907 by Giovanni Buitoni and Luisa Spagnoli has become known for its quality chocolate all over the world. Perugina represents the excellence of Italian chocolate. Perugina is in fact one of the best known Italian brands, especially for its iconic chocolates. Just think of the “Baci”, one of the company’s flagship products, or the “Nero Perugina” bars with different percentages of chocolate, among the best for dark chocolate. Born in a small chocolate shop, the history of Perugina is one of the realities that demonstrate that quality and careful selection of raw materials lead to international recognition. From dark chocolate with different percentages of cocoa, to chocolates, Perugina puts its tradition at the service of quality. The company produces a wide range of chocolate and food products, including chocolate bars, candies, nougat and biscuits. During Easter the most important product are the chocolate eggs wrapped in colored aluminum foil. But the most famous product is the “Baci”, chocolates filled with hazelnuts, wrapped in a nice multilingual love note. Today the Bacio Perugina is produced in many variations. Not only the classic one, but also white Baci Perugina and the dark chocolate ones with cocoa bean grains are becoming popular in specialized shops.
In this list we cannot fail to mention Ferrero, a company that, founded by Pietro Ferrero in 1946, has built up a reputation over the years to be, according to a market survey, among the most famous brands in the world. Among its best-sellers we cannot fail to mention “Nutella”, the spreadable cream par excellence, which has become part of the everyday life of families in Italy and abroad. Thanks to Ferrero, Nutella has become part of the lives of many people (along with “Ferrero Rocher”, of course). Ferrero Rocher is said to be the best chocolate and also the best selling brand in the world, with millions of people around the world having bought it. Ferrero Rocher chocolates are wrapped in a gold foil, making them ideal as a gift for special occasions. This delight is made from hazelnuts in a thin waffle shell with hazelnut chocolate, milk chocolate and chopped hazelnuts. Ferrero Rocher is also said to be at number 1 among the best known chocolate brands. Ferrero currently produces in 31 factories around the world and markets in 170 countries. The products that have contributed most to the growth of the company were mainly Nutella, Kinder Bueno, fresh products and those for special occasions. In addition, sales have also increased thanks to the launch of new products such as Nutella Biscuits.