Last week, one of The Conran Shop's expert foodies received a golden ticket to visit a real-life Willy Wonka chocolate factory in the North of Italy. From the Piedmont capital, comes this report...
"On visiting the Italian artisan Guido Gobino in Turin last month, we were warmly welcomed to the world of chocolate that has surrounded him since childhood.
Invited on a behind the scenes tour at his headquarters we learned about Guido’s new take on this specialist tradition. Following a walk through all the stages of production from start to finish, our visit concluded with an opportunity to taste his current range of chocolates. This week you will be able to sample a selection of his range at both our London shops when Loredana Ligori visits us to oversee a tasting (see below for details).
Located in a historic part of Turin not far from the snow capped Italian Alps is the factory where Guido’s father Bepe originally made chocolates and candies. Guido has continued the family tradition, searching for the best ingredients from across the world to make extraordinary chocolate. Cacao (the bean-like seeds from which cocoa, cocoa butter, and chocolate are made) is sourced from Java, Venezuela, Trinidad, Ecuador and Ghana. His approach combines a deep respect for traditional craftsmanship with innovation and cutting edge technology. In 2012, the new roasting and refining area was dedicated to his father who devoted his life to the company with passion, perseverance and enthusiasm.
Guido's first step was to focus on production of the iconic ingot shaped Turinese Giandujotto. Originally created in 1865, it is regarded as the first individually wrapped chocolate. Its development was a fortunate outcome of the difficulty in importing cacao in the 1800’s. Chocolate makers began to replace cacao with locally grown Piedmont hazelnuts.
The use of a hazelnut paste as an ingredient produced a new and intense flavour when combined with cacao, milk and sugar to create Gianduja chocolate. Today the hazelnuts used by Guido Gobino are harvested from fields owned by his company or from local farms which have collaborated with him for many years.
Based on the original Giandujotto his interpretations now include the Giandujotto Classic which weighs 10 grams and has a high percentage of PGI Piedmont Hazelnuts. The smaller Giandujotto Tourinot weighs just 5 grams and is still packed full of flavour, while the Tourinot Maximo contains no milk, which enhances the PGI Hazelnut scent.
A limited edition in the range, Maximo +39 contains more than 39% PGI Piedmont Hazelnuts. Made only from October to March these are hand tempered as the consistency of this recipe is so dense.
An assorted selection of Guido Gobino’s Giandujotti are included in our Chocolate Christmas Hamper which contains over 15 white, milk and dark chocolate goodies priced at £170. The boxed sets of Gobino's chocolates also make a perfect Christmas gift (from £12 to £65).
For further information about our in-store chocolate tasting sessions with Loredana Ligori at our Marylebone shop on Wednesday 4th and the Chelsea shop on Thursday 5th December take a look at the events page of The Conran Shop online.