Italian Chocolate Kisses

bagofbaciparisverticle.jpg

I like the word ‘addictive’.
I use it when it refers to something I like a lot and can’t stop eating.
So instead of implying a substance abuse problem (the jury’s still out around here whether or not chocolate is an abusable substance), the word has positive connotations for me. But I tend to use the word a lot, so much so that I fear that using the word addictive has become another addiction to me.

My friend Joanne recently came to visit me in Paris after a trip through Piedmont, the region of Italy famous for white truffles, hazelnuts, and chocolate (for some reason, though, she didn’t bring me any fresh white truffles.) But she did bring me a lovely box of something dark and chocolaty:
Baci Cherasco.

brokenbaciparis.jpg

Perhaps you’re familiar with Baci or Bacio di Dama, the little blue & silver foil-wrapped circle of Italian milk chocolate with a nice crisp hazelnut in the middle. Baci di Dama translates to kiss of a woman.

So I’m now in the possession of a very big bag (another reason I love Italy…big portions!) of Baci Cherasco; sinful little buttons of dark chocolate with crushed roasted hazelnuts.

The tasty Baci Cherasco were invented in 1881 when the confectioner, Marco Barbero, had make some a batch torrone and had some leftover hazelnuts bits left over…

turroneparis.jpg
Torrone: Made with Honey, Almonds, and Pistachio Nuts

Thinking quickly, Signor Barbero gathered up the remaining hazelnuts and had the good sense to coat them in bittersweet chocolate and made little ‘kisses’ from them.
Nowadays the hazelnuts are hand-crushed with rolling pins to assure they’re still in irregular chunks before dipping.

(Whenever I have any remaining tempered chocolate, I scramble through my kitchen cupboards to see what else I can dip. I’ve enrobed coffee beans, pretzels, honeycomb, prunes…you name it, I’ve dipped it.)

Baci Cherasco are suspiciously simple…just two ingredients: dark chocolate and crunchy hazelnuts. They’re delectable and truly addictive; the hazelnuts are perfectly roasted (always toast nuts, folks…) and the chocolate used is some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

Consequently, I’ve become addicted to the little dark nuggets with the powerful aroma of Piedmontese hazelnuts and bittersweet chocolate. So much so, I almost ate the entire bag of chocolates as if it were a sack of popcorn.

justbagofbaciparis.jpg

Barbero
Via Vittorio Amanuele, 74
Cherasco, Italy
Tel/Fax: 0172-488373

5 comments

  • It’s realy nice to visit your blog everyday. Your posts are interesting and chocolaty. ;)
    These photographs of the Italian chocolates made me to write a comment about them. They look like the chocolate called “Bolçi” in Bolu. Bolu is in Turkey. You can read Bolçi like “bolchy”.
    The hazelnuts are covered with caramel first and then with delicious chocolate. The crunchy hazelnuts make me go crazy. First the chocolate melts on your tongue, then you chew the crunchy hazelnuts covered with caramel. Happiness at the end. :) Then you want another one.
    The photographs of tasty Bolçi are in this link.
    http://lezzetinizinde.blogspot.com/2005/10/boli.html
    Cheers.

  • Oh, for the love of god.

    Why must my two favorite things be combined in a confection that is SO far from my reach. WHY?

  • would you please save one for me????

  • I love the Baci. I’d love to have a taste of the Baci Cherasco!

    Paz

  • I hope you enjoyed the Baci di Cherasco as much as we did! Cherasco is a great town known for seven centuries of history, culture, art, and of course chocolates! There are 3 main producers of Baci di Cherasco – all within several hundred metres of each other – but the Barbero firm is by far the standout! Ravera and Riccardi are two others – smaller production but still excellent quality. Giancarlo Torta has taken over Barbero and is happy to demonstrate his techniques for visitors by appointment.

    Buona degustazione!