A Modern Tradition
Perugia only made friends with Chocolate in relatively recent times, but it is a story worth telling as it lets us see how one person – and, often unconsciously – can start a process destined to change the lives of many people, even a whole geographic area. In this case, it was not some foreign Lord of old (as it happened in other areas where food until then unknown was imported), or trades with exotic countries, what made Perugia “the town of chocolate.” The cause of this new tradition was simply one person with her own genius and passions – Luisa Spagnoli.
From One Woman to a Great Business Story
The story is well known in Italy, a short TV series having even been based on it. Luisa Spagnoli, a businesswoman as well as the partner and business partner of Giovanni Buitoni (who in his turn came from a family fundamental in the history of Italian industry), simply invented a new kind of chocolate candy. The year was 1922. She surely could not guess that that candy – the Bacio (“Kiss”) Perugina – would prove so successful as to turn into a cultural trend. The success pushed forward the development of her whole company, that would become one of the main Italian industries in that field. Their products, first and foremost the Bacio, finally became famous worldwide – and Perugia with them.
The “Bacio Perugina”
The Bacio is a candy as simple in its ingredients as it is tasty. A filling in gianduia (a kind of chocolate with hazelnuts), with a whole hazelnut as its nucleus, is enclosed in a layer of dark chocolate.
One more feature that has made this little, sweet masterpiece an “icon” is the fact that it is wrapped in a piece of paper where a sentence on love is printed, each time a different one, quoting from famous writers or artists.
Perugia, the Town of Chocolate
To Perugia, Perugina is more than a company: it has been giving a job to many people for several generations, and spreading the name of the town all over the world.
Many former Perugina workers, in their turn, gave rise to artisan activities in the field of candies. More recently – on the wave of a growing awareness about the importance of traditional food and food quality – many small enterprises have been created.
So did Perugia, in the course of time, acquire a role as the Town of Chocolate. There are a yearly chocolate fair, a museum, some shops that only sell chocolate products, even a hotel with chocolate in its name. The merit belongs to the genius of all the people who deal with this item, but especially, to the inner strength of a product that, coming from faraway lands, succeeded in conquering Europe, and can still excite unparalleled taste sensations. Few kinds of food can bewitch us as chocolate does, especially if its quality level is so high as to originate a new form of tourism.