photos & text: nastassia lopez


In the Piemonte region of Italy, there is a small area of South America.  Upon arriving at Giraudi’s homebase, a 5 meter tall Aztec god is brightly painted on the side of the yellow and orange chocolate factory.  Inside, Signore Giacamo Boidi – grandson of the original Mr. Giraudi – works alongside his 20-year-old son, Davide. Both wear blinding orange polo shirts and cocoa colored cover-alls. Boidi himself –an Italiano-style Willy Wonka– turns chocolate fountains on and off through the magic of foot pedals. Strawberry reds, tangerine oranges, and blues as vibrant as cornflowers, flow and drizzle from each chocolate spout.  Factory workers scramble and pivot around chocolate eggs the size of cantaloupes, flocks of rainbow-colored cocoa ducks, and madrugnin-filled dark chocolate tablets.

Boidi began working at his the Giraudi factory in 1982. From there he transformed the factory from being a small-town artisanal chocolate shop to a world-wide name. He is not only passionate about chocolate, but also passionate about the production. Boidi personally seeks and selects the finest raw materials and produces the cocoa paste. His chocolates are made of 70% dark chocolate, coming solely from the prized Criollo variety of Venezuelan cacao. He fills each of the San Giacomo chocolates with a jelly made from traditional Balsamic vinegar from Reggio Emilia.  And he is most known for his gianduia, a luxurious chocolate-hazelnut cream that's like Nutella on steroids.

 We entered the factory, we were greeted with a Giacometta-chocolate-lined espresso cup, brimming with coffee.  Seconds later, we had homemade chocolate bread, spread with Boidi’s gianduia.  We munched and tasted our entire way through the factory. In the end, we were bestowed with a fistful of recipes, and jars of chocolate. In the recipe for Pane al Cacao (Chocolate Bread) , Boidi states " I propose this recipe for two reasons: one, because I appreciate matching salty foods, and two, because bread and chocolate are always a good match together."
Pane al Cacao
480 gr of flour
250 gr of water
10 gr of bitter cocoa powder
12 gr of yeast
125 gr of figs, sliced
100 gr of raisins
75 gr of pinoli nuts
3 gr of cinnamon
a dash of salt
Mix flour, cocoa, yeast and water, and add all ingredients. Form a ball and make a cross on top. Cover and let it rise for 1 hour at 30 C.
Arrange it on a baking tray, and continue to rise for at least 1/2 an hour. Bake in oven at 200 C for 15 minutes. This bread is well paired with cheese or salumi.

VINI VERGANI recommends: Crema Cioccolato Gianduia e Grappa
Producer: Bottega, Bibano di Godega Sant’Urbano
Degustation notes: Gianduia is a creamy and pleasantly sweet liquor with a low alcohol content.