The city of Turin has long been revered for the flavorful hazelnuts that grow in the area and the specialty that they are used to produce: gianduja, a rich, creamy hazelnut and chocolate praline that is as smooth as velvet.
The history of chocolate in Europe reveals the role that Turin played. Chocolates and recipes developed centuries ago are still being enjoyed today, winning awards and bringing joy to millions of chocolate lovers throughout the world.
1678 - First Chocolate Licence
The Royal House of Savoy granted the first chocolate licence in 1678 to a chocolate maker in Turin. Chocolatiers there today still embrace the centuries-old recipes handed down through the generations and manufacture using traditional methods.
1800s - Gianduja is developed
The history of gianduja dates back to Napoleonic times when cocoa was hard to find. Chocolatiers in Turin turned to their local resources to fill the gap, namely, the mild flavoured Tonda delle Langhe hazelnut. These sweet, most prized hazelnuts grow in the misty hills of the Langhe, the southern region of Piedmont. Roasted and finely ground with cocoa and sugar, the Tonda hazelnut helped the chocolatiers stretch a scarce resource. Now cultivated and protected under strict agricultural regulations (labeled IGP), it is this hazelnut IGP that is used to produce the famous ‘gianduja’ and 'gianduiotti'.
1852 - The Gianduiotto is invented
The 'gianduiotto' (pronounced jan-doo-ee-otto), an ingot shaped and foil wrapped gianduja chocolate, was first developed in 1852 by Michele and Paul Caffarel Prochet. Hand cut into its unique ‘stubb’ shape, the name given was “givu” – the local dialect for cigarette butt.
1865 - Gianduiotto launched at Turin Carnival
The gianduiotto chocolate was officially 'launched' during the Turin carnival of 1865. The character of "Gianduja" - a gluttenous and bibulous character who represented Turin in the Italian Commedia dell'Arte, handed out these chocolates during the festivities. The name stuck and from then on, this particular type of chocolate became known as gianduia and the little foil wrapped (cloaked) chocolates, named gianduiotti.
1911 - Cremino wins FIAT competition
To launch its new Fiat Tipo 4, the Turin based automotive giant FIAT held a competition for Italian chocolatiers to create a chocolate in honour of its new car. Aldo Majani of Bologna won with 'Il Cremino', a four layered gianduja praline. Originally known as the FIAT Cremino, it is now more commonly seen as three layers: two layers of chocolate gianduja with a middle layer of pure hazelnut cream.
2013 - Bonieri Launches
The new chocolate brand BONIERI launches in London bringing traditional Italian gianduja chocolates and other specialities to the UK and beyond.
2014/15 - Gold Stars for Bonieri CreminoOver 100 years after the Cremino chocolate won the FIAT competition, Bonieri's triple layered Cremino wins gold stars at the largest blind tasting awards Great Taste 2014 and 2015.
That chocolate is just a winner!