Let's talk about food and wine with Bruno Barbieri and Andrea Ribaldone
My school of chocolate in Perugia
The one I learnt how to deal with chocolate at the Perugina Factory
If you ask people about b, many will say that its typical product is… chocolate! Obviously the cacao plants are cultivated in different places, far from Italy and from Umbria region… But the chocolate production is a local tradition anyway. Traditions are close to marketing and even a Factory can become a turistic site! I refer to Perugina Chocolate Museum, where I had some kind of psychic-culinary experience: I took part in a course for chocolate home-chefs.
Chocolate has always been a mysterious thing, coming from far places, from the age of Maya civilization. Chocolate is also considered an antidepressant, that can cause addiction. It is said to be an aphrodisiac substance too. Cooking chocolate is a little touching: as soon as you take part to an intensive (and really caloric!) course to learn how to prepare your own chocolate, you will realize you will have to act like an alchemist.
Chocolate needs to be exposed over and over to different temperatures to become shiny and crunchy: first you have to warm it up to melt it, then you have to cool it down by pouring it on a marble surface. Third step: when the chocolate gets a specific temperature, it is poured in the moulds and cooled down again in the fridge.
Pouring chocolate is like handling something alive, spreading it with the palette knife is really delightful and finally licking your fingers is a foregone conclusion. When you pick off your chocolates from the moulds, you can taste the result of your professional work. The chef congratulates and gives you a licence of “chocolate home chef”. You will realize to have learnt an art, and you will be able to offer delicacies to your friends. You feel some kind of initiate…
Visit Perugia: helpful hints
There is an international airport in Perugia, connected to the centre of the city by a bus line (tickest 2,5€ – or 3,5€ if you buy it on board-). For transcontinental flights you have to stop in other airports and get to Perugia either by train or by car.
The best way to visit Perugia is by walking, but if you are interested in using the public transports check the Busitalia website. If you reach the city by car or by train, you can climb up to the city centre – which is located quite high! – using some free escalators leading straight inside the Rocca Paolina. Leave your car in one of the big parking places ‘downstairs’ (ask for some special parking rates to your hotel, they often offer some discounts!).
What to do
Perugia is the capital city of Umbria region, in the very heart of Italy. Go sightseeing in the city centre, it is famous for the defensive wall all around, the great Rocca Paolina and Palazzo Priori that contains a very important collection of works of Umbrian art.
If you love chocolate, Perugia is the hometown of the famous chocolate factory Perugina, where you can also take some nice class at the “school of chocolate” and then sleep in the Choco Hotel. Consider also a tour through the charming villages near Perugia, we recommend you to visit Agello, Bettona and Spello!