Baci Caffè combine coffee with chocolate praline.
Perugina, the chocolate confectionary company based in Italy's central Umbria region, has unveiled a new coffee-flavoured version of its famed hazelnut-filled chocolate pralines.
Baci Caffè combine the "velvety sensation of chocolate" with the "intensity of coffee", according to the Perugia-based company which celebrated its centenary last year.
The idea to marry the two classic tastes was born in Perugia between master chocolatiers at the company's San Sisto factory and the Perugina Chocolate School.
Baci Caffè join the classic, milk and dark chocolate versions of the popular sweets produced by Perugina, which is part of the Nestlé group since 1988.
The new Baci are available in both the 'bijou' box and in the smaller tube format, with recommended retail prices of €6.49 and €2.29 respectively, according to Italian news reports.
History of Baci Perugina
The story behind the much-loved Baci began in 1922 with fashion designer and entrepreneur Luisa Spagnoli who came up an innovative idea for a new recipe of chocolates.
Spagnoli devised a combination of chopped hazelnuts and melted chocolate to create a creamy filling, topped with a whole toasted hazelnut and encased in dark chocolate.
The irregular shape reminded Spagnoli of the knuckles of a fist, leading to the chocolate's original rough-sounding original name, "Cazzotto", meaning "punch" in Italian.
This didn't sound right to Giovanni Buitoni, the young manager and son of Perugina co-founder Francesco, who softened the name to "Baci", reasoning that people would prefer a kiss to a punch.
Buitoni and Spagnoli - who was 14 years his senior and married to one of his father's partners - were secret lovers.
Subsequently the Perugina art director Federico Seneca had the idea of inserting romantic phrases inside the foil-wrapped chocolates.
According to legend, the love notes idea was inspired by the secret handwritten messages, hidden in chocolates, exchanged between Buitoni and Spagnoli.
Seneca then devised the blue and silver box depicting the couple kissing under the stars, inspired by the painting The Kiss by Italian artist Francesco Hayez.
The combination of the recipe, name and packaging proved a winning formula and Baci became immensely popular, with Perugina boasting in a 1927 advert: “In just five years, Perugina has sold 100 million Baci”.
A century since the creation of the classic chocolates, the Perugina company says that 1,500 Baci are made every minute, exported to 55 countries around the world, with half a billion "kisses" sold every year.
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Italy's Baci Perugina unveils new coffee-flavoured chocolates
Viale S. Sisto, 207/C, 06132 Perugia PG, Italy
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