The Chocolate Valley: Tuscany at its sweetest!Big Names
The Chocolate Valley: Tuscany at its sweetest!
When thinking of Tuscany, people usually have T-bone steaks and Chianti wine in mind. But in such a gourmet region sweets play an important role too! And that is why nested in the hills between Prato, Pistoia and Pisa, where Chianti is made and Chianina cows graze, you will find the Chocolate Valley. Are you already thinking of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate rivers that flowed in his sweet world? Well the Tuscan valley is not exactly like that, but lovers of the 'Gods’ food' will have ample opportunity to indulge in their cravings.
Let's start with Pisa, where Paul Bondt, a Dutch chocolate maker who fell in love with an Italian designer, runs his business. This romantic liaison led to the establishment of one of the world’s best-known artisan activities. They were the first to produce chocolate bars with spices and unusual flavours such as bergamot, jasmine, tea and rose. An absolute try are the 'De Bondt Ryè' chocolates, produced in partnership with the Sicily maker of Passito di Pantelleria 'Ben Ryè'. Do not fail to taste them!
Let's move to Agliana in the province of Pistoia, where sweetness is multiplied by two as here you will find two renowned chocolatiers. The best known is Roberto Catinari, a world-famous master, now approaching 80 years of age but still passionate about his job. But Agliana is also where Luca Mannori works, who since the ‘90s has been running his chocolate business by combining tradition and modernity. His cakes are flabbergasting and on top of being clearly delicious, they come through as true works of design.
If you still have not managed to stave off your chocolate cravings, head to Monsummano, also in the province of Pistoia, and pay Andrea Slitti a visit. Just to give you an idea of how talented he is, it suffices to say that in 1994 he won the 'Grand Prix International de La Chocolaterie' in Paris. At his place you can gorge yourself on pralines with many different flavours: cappuccino, espresso, coconut, elderflower and hazelnut. Coffee is one of Slitti’s specializations, there is surely nothing better than a good cup of it to help you digest all the chocolate you gobbled up!
If you like cakes, try our courses! In the 'Tuscanainside Tour' section you can choose between the 'Siena's guided tour with ice cream course' and a 'Gelato pizza course in Florence with a final tasting'!
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