As you may have noticed, the chocolate reviews have become fewer and farther between of late. I still have pages upon pages of tasting notes from the chocolates consumed over the past few months, but the plentiful gustatory treasures of Paris and Florence have somewhat subdued my desire to eat and write about chocolate. However, in amongst the gelato (still going strong with at least two flavours a day, so there shall be more blogged gelato coming up) and pasta and art, I did manage to track down an Italian chocolate made with a certified-unique Italian ingredient. Oh, and I ate it.
Venchi No Added Sugar Pure Extra Dark Chocolate with Piedmont Hazelnuts I.G.P
Full disclosure: had I come across this chocolate in Paris, or London, or the United States, where my chocolate options were many, I wouldn’t have bought it. The idea of plain, unsalted, un-toffeed, un-anything-ed nuts in chocolate simply doesn’t excite me. However, I had some trouble sniffing out gourmet food-and-chocolate stores in my first days in Florence (never fear! I have found several since), and so I convinced myself that the novelty of I.G.P hazelnuts justified the purchase.
I.G.P stands for Indicazione Geografica Protetta, which means that whatever product is labelled as such is created specially in a special place and is therefore special. For more on these particular hazelnuts, see here.
The chocolate was a bit bloomed in the areas surrounding the hazelnuts, which themselves were integrated whole into the bar. The bar smelt sweet and slightly fruity, with a savoury edge emanating from the roasted nuts.
There was nothing out-of-the-ordinary about this bar, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. The chocolate had a caramel and brown sugar sweetness that slid smoothly over the tongue without leaving any tanginess or acidity in its wake, and the hazelnuts were roasted to an almost-bitter, savoury butteriness that played off such sweetness well.
All in all, I’m not likely to buy this again, but it’s not unpleasant by any means. The simple fact is that while I’m here in Florence, I’d rather experience the flutters of joy that come with my pretty-awesome-if-I-say-so-myself gelato selections than pleasant but not awe-inspiring chocolate.
But if you like sweet dark chocolate, and roasted hazelnuts, and the smug glow that accompanies supporting producers of I.G.P. edibles… go for it. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.