As you know from my recent post Italy in Chocolate, I spent several days in Turin at CioccolaTo, Turin's chocolate festival. Actually, my month in Italy was planned specifically for two things: Carnival in Venice and CioccolaTo in Turin. All the amazing other things that happened during my Italy travels between these 2 events were just chocolate ganache on the torta cioccolata!
For two weeks in March, Piazza Vittorio Veneto was transformed into a chocoholic's (called ciocco-dipendenti in Italian) paradise. Hundreds of chocolate makers in Turin and Piedmont participated, and also those from all parts of Italy and Europe, selling chocolate and giving out samples. A lot in the way of chocolate education was also available to those interested in more than sampling.
There was the tent that housed Italy and 20 of its monuments in chocolate. Also in the tent, highlights of Italy's united 150-year history and the history of chocolate in Italy were displayed on storyboards that lined the tent walls.
There was a chocolate demonstration booth, where various Piemontese chocolatiers and pastry chefs showed the audience chocolate making, baking, decorating and tempering techniques. Chocolatier Silvio Bessone sponsored a booth that had chocolate-making machines, in operation, during the festival. There was an interactive chocolate education area designed for children, although I saw some adults playing the learning games. A photo exhibition of chocolate-making and chocolate wear were also on display.
The cinema in the piazza, Cinema Empire, showed chocolate films from around the world (Chocolat, Like Water for Chocolate, Bianca, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, and more). If you were exhausted after eating all that chocolate, you could recline at Spalm Beach - a play on Palm Beach and Spalmabile, the generic term for the spreadable chocolate & hazelnut goodness many know as Nutella. If you needed even more pampering, a spa, Cocoon Center, in the piazza offered free chocolate beauty & wellbeing services.
Although Turin is most noted for its Gianduia (chocolate and hazelnut bars), there was plenty of other kinds of chocolate available - dark, milk, white, hot chocolate, chocolate liqueur, chocolate gelato and more. Here are scenes from CioccolaTo 2011:
CioccolaTo 2012 is already scheduled! It's from March 2 to 11, 2012 (And, Carnevale di Venezia will be from February 11 to 21, 2012.) Just a few reasons to visit Italy in winter!
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