Posts filed under Dessert

Thank You Italy for Perugina's Large Baci Easter Eggs

There is an Easter tradition in Italy that heralds the arrival of Spring like no other – the appearance of large wrapped chocolate eggs like those by Perugina with Baci chocolate “kisses” hidden inside in shop after shop.

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But Perugina's tradition of celebrating the departure of winter’s dark days with “kisses” (for baci means kiss) did not began with some marketing thinking tank last year.

Rather it began in 1907 under the insightful direction of one remarkable woman, Luisa Spagnoli.

Together with Giovanni Buitoni, she created a small confectionery company named after her home town of Perugina.

There, in 1923, she formulated the recipe for her now legendary 'kisses' comprised of a silky smooth chocolate veil wrapped around a heart of gianduia - made of whipped chocolate and finely chopped hazelnuts.

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The result chocolate was so popular it became known as Italy’s fourth favorite food after bread, wine and cheese – in short, the perfect finish to any meal large or small. 

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And while Luisa changed careers in 1928 from chocolate kisses and giant Easter eggs mythically left by fluffy bunnies, she still maintained her affection to the magically rabbit by launching a firm that introduced angora sweaters and knitwear to the world.

Today both firms are still going strong, both bring enjoyable elegance into the world – just as Luisa Spagnoli would have wished. Angora Spagnoli still dazzles on the fashion runway and Baci Chocolates, with its enclosed multi-lingual message, still charms chocolate lovers around the world.

Spagnoli’s home town even hosts the world’s first chocolate hotel, the Etruscan Chocohotel, where the headboards look like chocolate bars and walls seem to almost literally drip chocolate. It’s an amazing environment as is the Perugina chocolate factory itself.

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Both are worth a visit – especially in the Spring when large chocolate eggs abound, all thanks to the Easter Bunny (and Perugina’s amazing founder Luisa Spagnoli). How sweet the treat!

Your Culinary World Copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2014

Why We All Want to Go to The Grand Budapest Hotel

Well, Wes Anderson has done it again. For those who were charmed by the movie Moonrise Kingdom, there is now another film that equally delights while urging one to think just a little more deeply about what life is all about. 

All one has to do to achieve such wisdom (besides seeing the film) is check into The Grand Budapest Hotel and embrace the wisdom of Monsieur Gustave, concierge extraordinaire.

The film reveals through flashbacks the story of Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy (played by the newcomer Tony Revolori) as he learns about hotel protocol, poetry, courage and how one lives a life of meaning – all taught, of course, by Monsieur Gustave.

Ralph Fiennes plays the central character, Monsieur Gustave, with humor, style and a view of life crafted by years of perceptively watching the rich and famous come and go. It is an overview so accurately presented that anyone within the Hospitality Industry will adore the humorous but honest insights on life and service that this film presents in scene after scene.

The famed set designer, Adam Stockhausen, skillfully caught the feel what a legendary hotel must be when he converted the cavernous former Görlitzer Warenhaus Department Store building in Görlitz, Germany into the Grand Budapest Hotel during its grand (and not so grand days). In keeping with the storybook-feel of years gone by, he also created a miniature model of the exterior at the Studio Babelsberg, near Berlin. 

There’s death, romance, jeweled guests, theft, running up and down the stairs, fabulous pastries, keys, cocktails - in short just another day at a grand hotel, all handled with a clarity of style that defines the very heart of our Industry.  

Your Culinary World Copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2014