secret ingredientBaci Perugina is an icon that was created in Italy in 1922 by an original recipe used by Luisa Spagnoli.  Luisa Spagnoli was born in 1877 and created the Perugina chocolate factory with Giovanni Buitoni in the historical center of Perugia. 

Spagnoli’s recipe is still used today, 100 years later, which makes this candy so beloved and special in the hearts of many people.  The candy has a soft interior with a hazelnut grain and an exterior coated in dark chocolate.  Luisa called her little candy a “Cazzotto” because it resembles a punch or a fist.  Buitoni did not like the name and changed it to “Baci” reasoning that consumers would prefer a kiss to a punch.

Perugina is best known for their little foil wrapped Baci Hazelnut Kisses.   One of their most popular candies for Valentines, offers a chocolate covered cherry in luscious syrup in place of the hazelnut which appears similar to the local Brach Chocolate covered cherry found in the US but as we all know, everything from Italy tastes better.  It is said their standards are higher for producing chocolate. 

The candies are known for housing a love note inside each foil wrapper.  You see Giovanni Buitoni, was the CEO of the factory.  According to legend, Luisa used to send Giovanni love notes on little pieces of paper which she wrapped around the chocolates that had to be tested.  Her sweet gesture was the spark that made Baci Perugina go down in history as the perfect symbol of love for Valentine’s Day or any day. 

Now available worldwide, the company is located just outside of Perugia which is a hilltop city in the center of Italy.  The company was actually founded in 1907, was purchased by Nestle in 1988 and began offering a chocolate making school in 2007.  If you visit the factory, you can schedule a tour or take a class on making candy. In the meantime, order a box on-line just in time for Valentine’s Day.