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Have you heard of Gianduja? If your answer is no, then it’s time to turn another page of chocolate history and learn more about a smooth paste made from hazelnuts, sugar, and cocoa.
This Italian paste is excellent as a ganache in chocolate bonbons and other pastries, or in a wide range of desserts such as cakes, mousses, and ice creams. Additionally, it may be enjoyed as a spread by itself. So, the options are as endless as your imagination!
Keep reading if you want to know more about this unique Italian delicacy. You can’t even imagine how many discoveries await you!
Origins of Gianduja
In the early 1800s, there was a massive misconception between countries in Europe. Napoleon, a powerful leader of France, was mad at Britain and stopped them from selling their stuff to other European countries. This meant that some tasty products like coffee, sugar, and cocoa, which came from Britain, became scarce.
Now, imagine you’re a chocolate maker in Italy. You usually make delicious chocolates with cocoa, but there isn’t much cocoa left because of this trade fight. What would you do? You might cut back on the types of chocolates they make, make lower-quality ones, or switch to selling different foods.
However, the chocolate makers in Italy were pretty smart and creative. Instead of doing any of the above-mentioned things, they decided to mix the little cocoa they left with something they had plenty of, such as hazelnuts.
Believe it or not, at first Italians just added whole hazelnuts to make up for the missing cocoa, but it wasn’t quite the creamy chocolate we know today as gianduja. It took around 40 years for a Turin-based company called Caffarel to figure out the best way to roast and grind hazelnuts together with cocoa.
5 Best Gianduja Chocolate You Need to Sample
1. Venchi Giandujotto
Venchi Giandujotto sets the gold standard in Gianduja making. Renowned for its dedication to Italian chocolate tradition, Venchi’s Giandujotto is a masterpiece! What makes Venchi’s Giandujotto distinctive is its uncompromising commitment to quality. Venchi carefully selects the finest hazelnuts, roasts them to perfection, and blends them with premium chocolate. This meticulous process results in a creamy and rich experience with every bite.
So, if you don’t already know what it feels like to taste a delicacy created by this long-standing candy brand, we will prepare you in advance:
When you first savor a Venchi Giandujotto, you will not only enjoy a bar of Venchi chocolate but also experience Italian chocolate expertise and a devotion to creating something truly exceptional!
2. Ferrero Rocher
Ferrero Rocher is a famous chocolate treat, loved worldwide for its delightful combination of flavors and textures. At its heart lies a whole roasted hazelnut, embraced by hazelnut cream and a delicate layer of crispy wafer. This assembly is then coated in smooth, creamy milk chocolate and adorned with finely chopped hazelnuts. Despite its Italian roots, in France, Ferrero Rocher has become so cherished that it’s sometimes considered a traditional French candy.
What sets Ferrero Rocher apart from other gianduja-based chocolates is its careful craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each element, from the premium hazelnuts to the rich chocolate, is carefully selected and combined to create a harmonious tasting experience.
3. Lindt Lindor Hazelnut Truffles
After Venchi Giandujotto and Ferrero Rocher, Lindt Lindor Hazelnut Truffles are unquestionably one of the best Gianduja chocolates around. What makes them exceptional is their smooth gianduja center, which is a delectable blend of creamy hazelnut and chocolate.
Even one bite of Lindt Lindor Hazelnut Truffles is enough to greet you with a melt-in-your-mouth experience. These truffles are renowned for their creamy texture, making them an irresistible treat for any chocolate lover.
Therefore, whether as a gift or personal satisfaction, Lindt Lindor Hazelnut Truffles are a true delight that is sure everyone wants more!
4. Pernigotti Gianduiotti
Produced by Pernigotti, a renowned Italian chocolate manufacturer with a rich history dating back to 1860, these delectable Gianduiotti are a great example of time-honored artistry. That’s exactly why Pernigotti Gianduiotti has earned a cherished place in the hearts of chocolate enthusiasts.
For those seeking a real taste of Italy’s chocolate heritage, Pernigotti Gianduiotti is a timeless delight that brings a sweet essence to the world of Italian snacks. Pernigotti’s dedication to quality has made it a leader in producing not only Gianduiotti but also nougats, Easter candies, and ice creams.
Italians often joke that Pernigotti Gianduiotti is a symbol of Italian chocolate excellence, just as Ferrari represents the perfection of the auto industry.
5. La Maison du Chocolat Gianduja
Crafted by the renowned chocolatier Robert Linxe, La Maison du Chocolat has been a beloved name in the chocolate world since 1977 when the first boutique opened in Paris. La Maison du Chocolat Gianduja is a true delight for chocolate lovers! This delightful creation stands out for its irresistible deliciousness and luxurious quality.
What makes La Maison du Chocolat Gianduja special is its perfect blend of rich chocolate and finely ground hazelnuts. This combination results in a creamy and nutty chocolate experience that’s simply heavenly.
La Maison du Chocolat originated in Paris, however, it has since expanded its presence worldwide to include even America and Great Britain and shares its exceptional chocolates with chocolate devotees around the globe.
What Makes Gianduja So Unique?
Gianduja, a delightful confection beloved by many, stands out for its unique crafting style which is completely distinct from the praline-making process. What sets Gianduja apart is the careful roasting of cocoa beans and hazelnuts at specific temperatures and exactly this attention to detail ensures the development of their flavors.
Once roasted to perfection, these ingredients are skillfully blended. But the process doesn’t stop there – the blend undergoes grinding and blending for several hours. This lengthy process enhances not only the candy’s aroma but also its texture.
Considering that hazelnuts in Gianduja are ground for an extended period, they extract their rich oils and create the signature creamy, nutty texture that defines this confection. This dedication to extracting the essence of hazelnuts is what truly makes Gianduja special.
Gianduja’s popularity extends beyond its Italian origins and finds a special place in the hearts of people in several countries. While Italy remains the birthplace and a significant consumer of this delectable treat, Gianduja has also gained admiration in Switzerland and France, where it’s known as “Giandou.”
Considering that this traditional Italian candy has won the hearts of the Swiss and the French, it deserves the attention of chocolate enthusiasts around the world as well!
Composition of Gianduja
Gianduja boasts a magical blend of three key ingredients: hazelnuts, sugar, and cocoa butter or beans. While hazelnuts are the classic choice, you can get creative by introducing almonds or walnuts into the mix. For an extra dash of flavor, some artisans even perfect their creations with milk and natural vanilla extract.
In the European Union, only products meeting specific criteria can be called “gianduja” or “chocolate with gianduja hazelnuts.” This treat should comprise chocolate with at least 32% cocoa, including a minimum of 8% fat-free cocoa solids, and should contain 20-40% finely ground hazelnuts. Also, while it’s acceptable to include whole or crushed almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, these nutty additions shouldn’t store 60% of the product’s total weight.
What’s even more fascinating is that gianduja can be made following your culinary preferences to be more chocolatey, sweeter, or nuttier.
For instance, you can savor the Dark Hazelnut Gianduja, boasting a robust cocoa content of 28%, or Milk Hazelnut Gianduja which is a delicious blend of premium cocoas and a generous dose of milk (13%). But that’s not all! For those seeking the sweetest escape, Light Hazelnut Gianduja takes the applause with its high nut and sugar content (50%).
Where Does the Name “Gianduja” come from?
Before it became synonymous with chocolate, Gianduja was originally the name of an iconic character from the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, a beloved genre of theater in Italy. Gianduja was the Piemontese countryside’s honest peasant, easily recognized by his tricorn hat and casual clothes, which included a brown jacket with red attributes.
The transformation of gianduja from a theatrical icon to a delectable treat is a fascinating tale rooted in historical necessity. In 1861 as the country struggled with post-Napoleonic war troubles such as cocoa shortage, due to financial constraints, the Italian government raised import fees on a variety of goods, including cocoa beans.
Pier Paul Caffarel, the founder of Caffarel Chocolates, headed out on a revolutionary culinary adventure in the face of this difficulty. He used the plentiful local resources, especially the famous Piemontese hazelnuts, to create a unique dessert. This invention, called “gianduja” in honor of the admired character, not only saved Italian chocolatiers but also gave rise to a beloved chocolate tradition rich in cultural and historical significance!
Hopefully, you’re already aware of all the intriguing aspects of Gianduja. Now it will be much easier for you to choose a product now that you are aware of what Gianduja signifies, what it tastes like, and the distinctive traits that set it apart from other chocolate items.
Since you already know which Gianduja chocolates are the greatest, good luck and enjoy your Gianduja experience!
Nato is a content writer and researcher with a background in psychology. She’s passionate about writing about the candy industry and exploring the cultural significance of sweets and treats. She believes that the stories behind our favorite snacks can reveal a great deal about our values.
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