Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Al supermercado italiano!

Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a gelateria on every corner in Italy. And fine chocolates, unfortunately, do not rain from the sky. If you’ve had enough Nutella, or if you’re out late and browsing at il supermercado, or if you’re simply waiting for a train you’ll find Italy still has some exciting options in the standard candy offerings. From Italian chocolate makers Perugina to German import Ritter Sport, chocolate in Europe is different. For example, hazelnuts (“nocciole”) are very common, wafers are almost ever-present and dark chocolate (usually called “fondente,” but sometimes “neri”) is more bitter due to its higher cacao content. Another good reason to try the candy is that several are offered as gelato flavors: Nestle Baci, Perugina Nero, Kinder Bueno, Nestle Lion and Mars Bounty. Enjoy!

Must Try

  • Perugina Baci (or Bacetti) – Dark chocolate exterior with a hazelnut pieces in the center. And it translates to “Kiss!” (Italian)
  • Ferrero Duplo Cuore Fondente – Ferraro has some products commonly seen in the U.S. Their products all have the same formula: a truffle shape and a layer of wafer between the chocolate shell and core. This one is dark chocolate through and through. Molto bene! (Italian)
  • Ritter Sport Fondente con Nocciole – The hazelnuts were dry, whole and crunchy like almonds usually are in American chocolate. The chocolate was dark, melty and glorious. (German)
  • Kinder Bueno – Chocolate-covered wafer bubbles filled with hazelnut cream. The cream has a consistency like a less thick peanut butter. Eat it slow. (Italian)
  • Perugina Nero – The chocolate is similar to Dove dark chocolate, soft and dark, only darker and softer. It’s like eating a sheet of brownies in one small square.
  • Mars Delight – A familiar brand with an unfamiliar product. A little wafer, a lot of sweetened peanut butter, and a milk chocolate exterior. This is the only chocolate I saw with peanuts because it is a big no-no to mix salty and sweet in Italy.
  • Majari Gianduja – This is a classic. I hope you have had it before your trip to Italy. Chocolate with a hazelnut flavor. (Italian)
The Rest
  • Ferrero Tronky – Like other Ferraro products, except no chocolate covers the wafer shell that surrounds the tasty filling.
  • Ferraro Fiesta Orange – A chocolate covered cake that tastes like zabaione. No clue why they chose the misleading word “orange,” but the Italians must love seeing the English language used on product packaging.
  • Kinder Cereali – If you like Honey Smack cereal enough that you wish it was covered in milk chocolate, this is the bar for you. You’ll even get that cereal aftertaste!
  • Loaker Napolitano – All of Loacker’s products are wafer-centric. I had a chocolate-covered variety, which was like a milkier, creamier Kit Kat with hazelnut cream. (Italian)
  • Lindt Fondente Peperoncino – This Lindt product is not one you see in the U.S. Italians won’t mix salty and sweet, but putting paprika and peperoncino in chocolate they’ll do. It added spice, but did not enhance the flavor. (Swiss)
  • Majari Fiat – Yes, Fiat. They make cars. They make chocolate…or at least allow their brand name to be used. Smooth layers of soft chocolate and hazelnut cream.
  • Nestlé Galak – Why someone would spend good money on plain white chocolate baffles me…but this is coming from the guy who handed over 6 Euro for a fancy chocolate bar.
  • Nestlé Lion – Wafers layered with marshmallow, covered in caramel, and then milk chocolate with rice puffs.
  • Novi con Nocciole – Lower quality than Ritter Sport. The hazelnuts are not whole and have less of an effect on the taste and texture. (Italian)
  • Ringo Gusto Cioccolato – Small sandwich cookies that look like they’ll taste like Oreos, but taste more like Keebler E.L Fudge.
  • Mars Bounty and Malteasers – See my coverage of Canadian chocolate.
You may have noticed the brand name Mars on one of the Must Try candies. Yes, some brands that are regulars in America can be found in Italy. A typical Mars Bar tastes exactly the same—that waxy, sour American-manufactured-chocolate taste—but the Kit Kat I tasted had a milkier, creamier flavor.

Next time: Fancy Italian chocolate!


Rebecca said...

I loved buying Kinder eggs when I was in Italy! The toys are so fun!

Aaand...when you have a preposition (a) and an article (il), you can combine them into one word--so it would be "al supermercado italiano."

You know. Because blog comments are for correcting grammar. Um.

Raine ja Manuel said...

I love most of them, but I haven't tried all of them. After burning my tongue with peperoncino flavor I quit trying new unexplored tastes ^_^ Now I go with my favs only... at least I won't be disappointed- but there's no element of surprise...
But adding Panna with any ice-cream flavor is a MUST (in my case :) )

Stammi bene! Ciao!

Raine ja Manuel said...

uuh, forgot!
How could we get your new album? We'd be very interested in it, because we like your songs.
Sorry, that we're writing here, but we don't have myspace account..

Facci sapere!

Brad said...

Well, thanks! Contacting me here about the new CD fine. Hmm...I've found your email, so I'll contact you there.

For anyone curious, you can listen to my music at

...And, Rebecca, grammar help; is always welcome! The blog name is now changed and my mistake immortalized in these comments.