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Sandro Minella

This is about another Napoleon. But it's the story of a riot, that became a part of the history of a chocolate, that became a part of the history of a city.

The city is Turin, Torino in Italian. I bet a 12 tins box of flavor 50, 65, & 70 mix the majority of you (apart from Sarah) have never heard of this town before, at least until

NBC started its Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games ads.
It's a spot in the northwest corner of Italy, 60 miles east of the French border, in a region called Piedmont (Piemonte).
45° 5'59.33"N and 7°41'49.12"E if you don't venture any further than the East River without your GPS device.


So the story starts with Napoleon. The one with a capital N. General Bonaparte himself was the unintentional grand-father of a kind of chocolate, called Giandujotto, now Turin’s chocolate ambassador for Italy and the entire world.

After he imposed the continental block in 1806 in order to head off the English mercantile marine, it was difficult to receive commodities from the other side of the Atlantic.

The block lasted for most of the 19th century, far after Napoleon's death, a period during which cocoa became a rare commodity in Europe and in Piedmont, making it difficult to continue the production of chocolate.


The chocolate maker Michele Prochet never gave up and, in 1852, he started his own riot against a life without chocolate in a cold city like Torino and began adding chopped and roasted hazelnuts from Piedmont to the cocoa. The result of this mixture was the Gianduja paste, used for the production of the Giandujotto. In the beginning, this special chocolate with its irregular boat shape was not called like this, but rather givu, which in Piedmontese means "beetle", but also “little bite”.

It would take until 1865 for this speciality to take its name from Gianduja, the typical Carnival mask of Turin. And it was Gianduja himself, during Carnival of the same year, who baptised the new chocolate: the first in the world to ever be wrapped in paper.

At first, the process was carried out manually. The paste was blended until it was perfectly smooth, consistent, and fluid. In the end the chocolate maker (cicôlatè) ladled out the chocolate, which took on the characteristic boat shape.
Later the Giandujotto was formed by extrusion, producing a continuous segment-shaped strip that was then cut by hand.

The extrusion technique survived the mechanization of this process and today represents the alternative to pouring the chocolate into moulds. Extruded Giandujotti are preferred in that they are less elastic, less fatty, and present a longer lasting hazelnut flavour.

If some of you is now trying to say that Gianduja paste is same stuff as another infamous Piedmontese brand called Nutella Ferrero, who claims to be the inventor of hazelnut'n'cocoa paste in 1945 (pathetic!), I'm ready to start a riot!

Your rioter in Turin
Sandro

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