Carlo Rotta's Italian Chocolate
Chocolate and Italy are two of my favourite things so when Carlo Rotta got in touch to ask if I wanted to try his new gourmet Italian chocolate the answer was never going to be no!
As well as tasting absolutely divine this is chocolate with a story. Turin is Rotta’s home town where he honed his chocolatier skills is also the coffee and chocolate capital of Italy. I feel a visit coming on…
In 1806 Napoleon introduced a blockade on British goods and those from the British colonies. Cocoa became scarce so to make it go a little further Turin chocolatiers added a paste made with hazelnuts from Langhe hill near the city. They called it Gianduia and it’s been enjoyed all over Italy ever since.
Carlo Rotta’s Italian chocolate is produced from traceable, high quality ingredients with no added fat. The hazelnuts are from Piedmont, the pistachios and almonds are from Sicily and cocoa beans hail from Ghana and Ecuador. The Italian ingredients are promoted by the Slow Food movement which originated in Piedmont. It’s aim is to promote, protect and preserve traditions linked to the cultivation of Italian food and wine and has now grown to international level.
Together with passion for confectionary excellence Carlo Rotta seeks to pair up traditional Turin Gianduja with typical ingredients from other international destinations like Vodka from Russia or Arabica coffee beans. It’s where he brings his love of travel, chocolate and tradition together.
So, that’s the history bit – let’s see if it passed the taste test.
Gianduiotto were the first chocolates I tried. These were invented in Turin in 1852 for the carnival and were the first chocolates ever to be foil-wrapped. They are made with sugar, cocoa and 30.5% hazelnut gianduia and come in three flavours; original chocolate with Piedmont hazelnuts; pistachio, which replaces the chocolate, the combination of nuts was was delicious and, finally, my favourite, with a rich coffee notes. The gianduiotto had a soft, creamy texture and a subtler taste than expected and is perfect if you just want to dally with your taste buds and don’t need a full-on chocolate hit.
Next, for a complete contrast I moved over to the dark side and tried the 75% extra bitter dark chocolate. This is a seriously macho chocolate and comes in a big chunky bar with the word ‘block’ on it. Extra bitter chocolate is sugar free, solid to the bite and insanely intense. Unusually for me, it had such a cocoa kick that I could only eat a little at a time! I melted some to dip strawberries into, which is probably sacrilege, but tasted incredible combined with the fruit’s sweetness. The extra bitter chocolate also comes in ginger; cinnamon; red chilli and Absinth flavours with 56% cocoa.
My final chocolate fix came in a small, but perfectly formed, jar of Crema Caffe – think top-notch, luxury Nutella for grown ups. This was my absolute favourite of the three products and I could well become addicted to the smooth texture and full, rich flavour. I may have eaten this straight from the jar with a little silver spoon or I may have had it with croissants. I’ll leave you to guess…
Carlo Rotta chocolate is now being sold under the letter ‘C’ in Selfridges prestigious ‘Chocolate Library’. It’s also available in Harrods or, if you happen to be passing, in Monaco.
Disclaimer – this chocolate was complimentary but all views, opinions and hankering to try the Carlo Rotta Extra Bitter ginger and chilli flavours are entirely my own.