The cocoa plant has ancient origins and probably already existed more than 6,000 years ago. Maya and Aztecs produced cocoa for Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility. Cocoa was consumed during important ceremonies and this was due to cacao health benefits, but it was a drink so far form the chocolate we know today.
In 1502 it was discovered by the Europeans with Cristoforo Colombo, who tasted a cocoa drink, carrying some cocoa beans in Spain, but nobody appreciated the new plant. Finally the Spanish in the late ‘500 added vanilla and sugar, undergoing cocoa a new kind of treatment, but it was so far from the cacao chocolate we know today.
In the early 1600 the cocoa was imported in Italy, in Piedmont by Caterina, wife of Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy. In 1606 Italian chocolate was producedi n the cities of Florence, Venice and Turin. It was an extravaganza for rich people only. Only in 1879 Rudolph Lindt, studying the cocoa beans discovered the process called cocoa conching, which gives a homogeneous mixing, transforming chocolate in a product suitable for the mass market. Based on this process also in Italy was developed a new deal of interest and every chef chocolatier started to created new products, also using and mixing cacao butter to obtain soft and sweet milk chocolate.
Italian Chocolate become a refined product with a growing market and many producers started new activities. Founded in 1930, Cioccolato Croci today is still a small family-run chocolate company. As a chocolate maker, the company started to produce gourmet chocolates, up to be requested from the Royal family. Through the years the owners have always researched the most refined chocolate pairings with spices, to obtain cinnamon chocolates, and combine cacao with turmeric, curry, tandoori and ginger. The production is obtained using cocoa butter only, without any vegetable fats. The main products are pralines, Gianduiotti chocolates and delicious pralines filled with wine. Chocolate pearls for sweet tooth. Here is where to buy special chocolate made in Italy.
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