February 12, 2010

Hot Italian Kisses

Translation: where ever there is love, there  is a Bacio Perugina

 Probably one of Italy's most famous chocolates is called Baci, meaning kisses.

When I toured the Perugina factory in Perugia, they said that the original name was actually going to be cazzotti- meaning little fists or punches. Baci is a much nicer name for something so sweet.

Italy has a history of adding hazelnuts to their chocolates in pieces and in paste form. Probably one of the most famous is creating a spread called Nutella, which is a hazelnut chocolate spread, serving Italian kids both big and small as Americans use peanut butter. It is best on a slice of yeasty country-style bread.

Gianduja is milk chocolate with a hazelnut paste, shaped into small pyramids, so very soft, they easily melt in your mouth. They are a specialty in Torino made with the hazelnuts from Le Langhe and are one of my favorites.

The Baci are made of a  bittersweet chocolate ganache with chopped hazelnuts formed into a round truffle and topped with a whole toasted hazelnut then dipped in chocolate, it is then wrapped in it's signature silver foil with a love poem on the inside.

But I like my chocolate bittersweet and with more of an adult sort of kick to it.

For Valentine's Day this year I have created homemade Baci- but heated it up with some chili powder!

Enjoy my Hot Italian Kisses!

1 cup heavy cream
125 grams bittersweet chocolate
1/2 tsp powdered chili, I used chili from Calabria, but the Spanish Esplette is nice too
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

Cocoa powder or chopped hazelnuts

Heat the heavy cream without letting it come to a boil.
Turn off the heat under the pan.
Add the chopped bittersweet chocolate.
Let sit until it melts and stir to be sure it is all melted and incorporated.
Stir in chili powder and the chopped hazelnuts.

Place in a bowl and let cool.

Cover with saran wrap and let sit if the refrigerator over night to firm up.

Make tiny balls and roll in either chopped hazelnuts or cocoa powder.

You can keep them in the refrigerator and remove about 10 minutes before serving.

Try to eat only one!!!

Buon San Valentino!

Be more Italian- celebrate your loved one everyday!


  1. Oh, these look to die for!!!

  2. OMG! That sounds amazing! There may be some chocolate-making happening at my house this weekend. Yum!

  3. Wow! Great idea and great post. I enjoyed hearing the candy history. Truffles or in this case Hot Italian Kisses are always a delight!

  4. Bacis were once numerous in Minnesota and now they are gone. Never thought about making them... until now! Thanks for the delectable recipe.

  5. Dropping by from Piemonte via ItalyTuuto. I can't believe they wanted to call Baci punches! The marketing guys must have buried their heads in their hands when they heard that one!