Gianduiotto is a Piedmont’s chocolate whose shape is similar to an upturned boat.
Gianduiotti are individually wrapped in a tinfoil cover, usually gold or silver-colored.
They are a speciality of Turin and take their name from gianduja, the preparation of chocolate that is used for Gianduiotti and other sweets (including Nutella); in turn, this preparation is named after Gianduja, a mask typical of Piedmont and of Turin.
Gianduiotti are produced from a paste of sugar, cocoa and the hazelnut Tonda Gentile delle Langhe. The official birth of Gianduiotti is set at 1865 in Turin, by Paul Caffarel and Michele Prochet, the first to completely grind hazelnuts to a paste before adding them to the cocoa and sugar mix.
Apparently, the idea of mixing hazelnut pieces to standard chocolates was born during Napoleon’s reign, when importing cocoa from South America became extremely difficult.
Raw cocoa was extremely expensive, so local producers started incorporating bits of roasted hazelnuts (hazelnuts are locally grown and were easy to come by in Piedmont) to make the final product more affordable.