While Tuscany is perhaps most famous for its stunning scenery
Wine, olive oil, and leather, there’s another treat in store for those who are fortunate to visit the region: chocolate.
Tuscany is undoubtedly a place in which time-honored production techniques are adopted in favor of mass production and cost-cutting shortcuts. So, as with everything else that is crafted in this region, chocolate is made following painstaking techniques that have been passed down through generations of artisans.
The “Chocolate Valley” of Tuscany is located between Prato, Pisa, and Pistoia and it is in this region that you will encounter many chocolate shops that offer delicacies of the highest quality. While many of the stores in the area have been founded on Tuscany’s ancient techniques of chocolate production, many of their contemporary owners have brought their wares up to date to create trendy shops and cafes that offer delicious treats in a stylish environment.
If you find yourself in Chocolate Valley, there are some specific names that are well worth hunting down.
Roberto Catinari is a fantastic personality who has honed his craft studying with Swiss chocolatiers. He opened his chocolate shop in Agliana over 30 years ago and has earned a reputation for producing some of the most delicious chocolates in Tuscany.
Another famous name is that of Paul de Bont. Originally from Holland, Paul said goodbye to his Dutch roots in a bid to refine his expertise in high-quality food. He chose Tuscany, an area of exceptional taste, and has since developed his own expertise in chocolate making.
Award-winning Amedei is operated by the Tessieri family and is considered by many to be the best name in the business. Since their establishment in the 1990s, they have collected numerous accolades, and their treats are certainly among the best there is.
No review of the Chocolate Valley would be complete without mentioning Prato’s Mannori, which is owned and managed by Luca Mannori, the creator of the amazing “Seven Veils” cake, which consists of multiple irresistible layers of chocolate and hazelnut ganache.
One of Florence’s most notable names is Vestri, which specializes in more unusual chocolate creations and a very notable hot chocolate drink.
Finally, another name everyone associates with the fine chocolates of the region is Slitti. Andrea Slitti is a former student of Mr. Catinari and a well-known artisan producer who operates a delightful boutique chocolate shop and café in Monsummano Terme.
Tuscan chocolate is very distinctive due to two main factors: It incorporates the delicious flavors of central Italy, including rosemary, lavender, and olive oil, and is hand made with the highest attention to detail in boutique outlets.
Regardless of which artisan’s wares you choose to sample, if you are in the region of the Chocolate Valley you simply should not miss an opportunity to try what may be the finest chocolate in the land.
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