Italy is home to some of the world’s finest confectionary companies such as Perugina, Strega Alberti, Confetti Pelino and Ferrero, to name just a few. One can find a candy boutique on almost every block in major Italian cities, a testament to the population’s ardor for gastronomic bliss. For Easter, these attractive shops offer delectable candies and chocolates beautifully packaged in colorful foil and ribbon.
Most popular in Italy during this time are chocolate eggs or uovo di cioccolata. Easter eggs maintain a long tradition of symbolizing the Resurrection of Christ and the rebirth of springtime flowers and plants.
The first chocolate Easter eggs appeared in Italy in the early 1800s, but the Italian city of Turin, dubbed the Chocolate Capital, is credited with revitalizing the tradition almost a century later. Turin is home to some of Italy’s best chocolatiers, including Stratta, which has made its home there since 1836; Cioccolateria del Capitano Rosso, founded by a former ocean liner captain who decided to leave the seas in favor of his passion for chocolate and master chocolate-maker Giovanni Bellisima, a Sicilian who relocated to Turin and designed eggs for prestigious brand names including Caffarel and Talmone.
Some of the most famous chocolate Easter eggs come from the Perugina Factory, the leading Italian confectionary company based in Perugia in Umbria. Baci is the company’s most popular confection, made since 1922. Perugina offers festively packaged giant chocolate eggs which are displayed in storefronts throughout Italy in the weeks before Easter. Inside the milk chocolate Perugina egg are five miniature chocolate treats. The dark chocolate and white chocolate Baci eggs each hold four pieces marked bacio, a “kiss” of chocolate filled with a hazelnut and the milk chocolate-hazelnut paste known as gianduia. Perugina eggs are the most popular Easter treats in Italy.
Strega Alberti is a company based in Campagna that has been run by the Alberti family since 1860. An artisanal confectioner, the company offers an extensive Easter collection. One of their best sellers is the hollow ostrich-sized eggs in flavors such as croccantino (almond with crunchy caramel) and milk chocolate with nougat.
Confetti Pelino is best known for its candy-coated almonds, which the company has been crafting since 1783, yet the Abbruzzo-based confectioner also makes some spectacular Easter items. Their walnut-sized gianduja eggs feature a crunchy shell that keeps the smooth chocolate-hazelnut interior creamy and fresh. Another delicious offering is the Fiore di Pesco carta, a hard shelled sugary delight that is artfully crafted in the shape of Easter flowers.
In Sicily, the Pasqua candy of choice is Agnelli Pasquali, marzipan sweets in the shape of lambs decorated with flowers and ribbons. Lambs are a symbol of Christ, so the candies are fitting to the occasion. Sicilian children also enjoy sweets in the shape of bunnies, eggs and chicks, which are available in pastericcerie throughout the Easter season.
Another important Italian chocolate and candy manufacturer is Ferrero, founded by confectioner Pietro Ferrero in 1946 and based in Alba. Easter sweets offered by the family-owned company include gorgeous, tempting chocolate Easter eggs and sugary bunny shaped candies.