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.
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.
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.
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.
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