Chocolate recommendations in Tuscany/Umbria?
While in Melbourne two years ago, my wife and I took a "chocolate tour" of the city. As a surprise for her, I would love to plan a "chocolate tour" of Tuscany and Umbria for our trip in Septebmer. We will be making stops in the following cities:
Riomaggiore (Liguria, I know!)
Bologna (again, not Tuscany or Umbria, but we fly out of Bologna Marconi)
If anyone has recommendations of where to find especially good chocolate items of any kind -- whether at markets, restaurants, gelateria, pasticceria, or anywhere else -- I would be grateful. I'm very familiar with the Perugina legacy and the Euro Chocolate fest in Perugia in October, but I'm most interested in some of the smaller, more out-of-the-way finds. Thanks!
Not strictly chocolate, but the gelateria in Castellina is some of the best I've had anywhere. L'Antica Delizia, via Fiorentina 4, I think. At the crossroads at the north end of town. The chocolate (or any other flavors) gelato won't dissapoint you. If they have Dolce-Salato, you are really set (salted peanuts and nutella swirled in)
While I wouldn't recommend going to the Eurochocolate fest, frest Perugian chocolate is the best chocolate I've eaten in Italy, perhaps especially because I am a fan of dark chocolate.
La Spezie (just down the road from Riomaggiore) has a chocolate festival. I don't know when. And it has several high end chocolate fabricators, one of whom makes chocolate in elaborate shapes. David Downie talks about them in his book about the Food and Wine of the Italian Riviera. If you can't get his book, ask in Riomaggiore or La Spezie.
And I found this on the web for you:
The area in between Pisa and Prato, going through Montopoli, Monsummano Terme and Agliana, is developing a quality hand production of chocolate. In this parts many famous international chocolate craft-man meet with promising young chocolate artisans to make sure to keep high the quality of their chocolate. A few well known names of producers and craft-man are Federico Salza of Pisa, Simone de Castro of Montopoli, Andrea Slitti of Monsummano, “Cioccolato and C”, Massa and Cozzile of Pistoia and and Corsini, the pioneer of chocolate in Tuscany Corsini of Pistoia and Luca Mannori who holds the confectioner world prize. In January this confectioners and others took part in “Cioccolosità”, an event born to promote the “black gold mine” known to the press as Chocolate Valley.