“Milk or Dark Chocolate?”
Any email that has that as the subject line is bound to make for an interesting read.
And when the mail is coming from someone working at Venchi Chocolate, that makes it that much better! When I was contacted by someone working at Venchi, who is also a reader of my blog (grazie mille, Sabrina!), I was excited as it’s a brand I know well living in the north of Italy since they are from Piedmont. You may have also seen them in the major airports of Italy, but I enjoy their little store just steps from the Duomo in Milan.
I tasted Venchi on my first trip to Torino in 2005, several months before they had the Winter Olympics there.
At the time we were newlyweds, and I lived in Pavia, a small town about 30 minutes south of Milan. Looking back, the time we spent there was very happy but a true test to any couple, especially a new one. We had no personal transportation other than bicycles, and we lived far from the city center. Each morning I rode my bicycle (uphill, naturally) to the train station, so I could make the commute to the opposite part of Milan in the north. My commute sometimes would take 3-3.5 hours per day, and when I arrived back in Pavia in the evening usually the entire city was already shut down.
We therefore looked to the train system to take us on a little excursion when we could get away, and one of our first was Torino, Turin.
So when we arrived in Turin and saw all the construction that was being done for the 2006 Olympics, we were disappointed but still glad not to be in Pavia for the moment. We consoled ourselves by escaping the cold and getting cioccolata calda, hot chocolate and eating all the gianduja, hazelnut chocolate we could find. Turin, being in Piedmont has a ton of chocolatiers there – and I found Venchi everywhere.
Now I can find Venchi closer to home – I sometimes buy their Caramel “Unico” bars when I need a caramel fix (most Italian chocolate doesn’t really feature caramel), and I like their no-sugar added line (especially the cremini) for some sugar-sensitive relatives.
So when I received my little care package, I documented it carefully, smelled everything, and immediately thought of sharing the experience with you.
In my package there were some things new to me, like:
- Chocaviar – what I thought would be pieces of cacao nibs covered in chocolate, is actually much better and smoother – 90% pure chocolate covered in extra dark chocolate. I prefer this to the crunchy nibs, and it was hands-down my favorite thing in the basket. I can see this being a bit of an addiction. I mean, really – someone come get the rest of this container from me.
- Cremacacao spread – hazelnut chocolate spread – their version of Nutella which I liked but found a bit difficult to spread because it’s so cold here, so I had to go with a spoon!
- Cuba – in the shape of a cigar, naturally, when unwrapped it reveals a long chocolate “cigar” that has a solid center of hazelnut chocolate and is covered in dark chocolate. Its size means it’s to share!
- some little packaged chocolates and some bars of extra dark chocolate that I have earmarked for some baking experiments for the new year.
Want Venchi for yourself?
A small selection of Venchi chocolate is available on Amazon.com – nothing on Amazon.it yet. A quick search finds some of it on Chocolate.com, too. Or you can buy directly on the website Venchi.it – it looks like they ship worldwide, but I haven’t experimented with it myself.
Wait, you didn’t think that was all, did you? Of course I’m going to share Venchi with you!!
Venchi Italian chocolates selection for one reader
I hand-picked your selection and it’s a little different from mine, and I headed to the Venchi store near the Duomo in Milan to pick it up this weekend. Yes, it was snowing. While I was there, there were boxes everywhere as the staff worked furiously to ready shipments just in time for Christmas.
This won’t get there in time for Christmas, but just the same, you’ll get some great stuff for the new year. Here’s what’s included (no gift-wrapped box like I received, sorry):
- A decorative, re-usable Cioccolato Venchi tin with 50g of extra dark and milk chocolate squares inside
- Chocaviar – Chocolate caviar (40g) – bits of 90% chocolate covered in extra dark chocolate (75%)
- Three (3) 45g chocolate bars – Extra dark chocolate 75% with hot pepper (peperoncino) – gluten free, Extra dark chocolate 85%, and Extra milk chocolate (gluten free)
To win, leave a comment here on this post, answering this question:
What’s your favorite article you’ve read on Ms. Adventures in Italy, and why?
Did you like the how-to on aperitivo? My travel photos from India? My chocolate dessert recipes or my behind-the scenes looks into Italian food? Tell me in the comments!
The details: One comment per person – the email address associated with your comment must be valid. You do not need to leave your email address in the comment body itself.
I’ll pick a winner on December 25th from the comments using a random number generator, and I’ll make arrangements to send the winner the package the first week of January – this way you’ll have something to look forward to in the new year!
I’ll ship this worldwide, but please get informed yourself if your country has duty or customs problems with chocolate – any taxes or customs will be your responsibility. If the reader does not reply to my winner email in 5 days from being contacted, I will select another winner.
Disclosure: I received the gift package from Venchi with no strings attached – they did not ask me to blog about it, nor am I being compensated for this post. The products in the giveaway were purchased with my own money.