This $11 Italian chocolate ruined all other chocolate for me (but thankfully I found it on Amazon!)

I love chocolate as much as the next person, but I’ve never considered myself much of a chocolate snob. Sure, I love whipping something up using fancy vanilla bean paste and have even found a powdered buttermilk hack that makes impromptu baking super simple, but I’m hardly ever in the mood for something chocolatey. Given the choice between a dessert that’s fruity and fresh or rich and chocolatey, and I’ll choose the fruity option every time. 

It’s probably why I’m more likely to pick up a chocolate bar that has anything but, well, plain ol’ chocolate in it. Salted caramel, fruits and nuts, sea salt, even jam — if the chocolate has something else going on in it, then it’s probably better for my palate. 

All of that is to set up why, on a recent trip to Italy, I was strolling through the hilly and winding side streets of Perguia and was surprised to find myself in the overwhelmingly robust chocolate section of a small bottega. I’d stopped to find souvenirs to bring home to some friends and family, but as I was checking out with their gifts, I picked up this Venchi Pistachio Cremino chocolate bar on impulse — and I’m eternally grateful I did. Just one square of this chocolate has since ruined all other chocolate for me, and that’s not an overstatement.

You might’ve heard of or seen Venchi chocolate before. It’s a gourmet Italian chocolate brand that was founded in Turin, Italy, in 1878. But what makes Venchi chocolate super special is that it’s made with genuine ingredients that are inspired by Mediterranean diets. Lots of their chocolates are made with ingredients like almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and, perhaps most famously, gianduja — a Turin creation that’s traditionally chocolate with about 30% hazelnut paste. It makes for a creamy, nutty, slightly sweet chocolate that looks and tastes luxurious.

Venchi’s Pistachio Cremino bar is made with alternating layers of that creamy gianduja and delicate, lightly salted pistachio cream spread — a truly Italian flavor. The result is a decadent, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate that has a silky, soft texture and isn’t overwhelmingly sweet. It’s an intoxicating treat for those who know they love the flavors of chocolate, pistachio and hazelnut. 

Finding this decadent chocolate bar is one of the reasons that I always make a point to stop into a local grocery store or two when I’m traveling abroad. It’s not only a really smart place to load up on tons of affordable souvenirs, but I genuinely find it interesting to browse the ingredients and brands that might be unfamiliar to me. Even mundane things like going to the grocery store aren’t really all that mundane when you’re in a foreign country. Especially if you might find your new favorite treat. 

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