Gianduia: How it differs from chocolate and the best desserts to make with it


Often confused, gianduia and traditional chocolate are in fact quite different products. Or, to be more precise, they both start with a similar composition but then diverge considerably. Let's explore the unique characteristics of gianduia, and the most irresistible gianduia sweets and desserts that grace Italian dining tables.

What is gianduia?

Gianduia is a creamy mixture of cocoa, hazelnuts, and sugar. 

Originating in the Piedmont region, gianduia is made by roasting hazelnuts, which are then finely chopped until they turn into a cream, at which point cocoa and sugar are added. It is produced in both standard and milk chocolate versions.

The weight of the ingredients varies by manufacturer and type: it's usually around 30% cocoa and 20–40% hazelnuts. 

The difference between gianduia and chocolate

In terms of texture, gianduia looks like traditional chocolate. But the first bite immediately reveals their dissimilarity: thanks to the presence of hazelnut oil, gianduia is in fact considerably softer, delivering an immediate mouthfeel that is rich and soft. 

Chocolate and gianduia are also easily distinguished in terms of flavor: compared to chocolate's more intense and bitter taste, gianduia has a sweet and creamy flavor.

Also read: Dark chocolate: mouth-watering health benefits

Fun fact: the birth of gianduia

The birth of gianduia is linked to a curious bit of trivia, which deserves a mention. 

Its origin dates back to the early 1800s, when raw materials from the English colonies such as cane sugar, cocoa, and coffee became scarce in Italy due to Napoleon's continental blockades. To compensate for this crisis, Piedmontese chocolatiers were then forced to use a smaller amount of cocoa, adding in its place hazelnuts, nuts which were abundant in the area. 

It was thus, almost by accident, that gianduia was born, a product that would eventually alter the course of the history of Italian sweets and desserts!

Gianduia, the queen of sweets... and more! 

Gianduia is used in many ways, all equally yummy for both young and old!

Let's start off by considering gianduia's use as a spreadable cream, perfect on a slice of fresh bread, in yogurt, or for baking cakes. Thanks to its delicate texture and rich flavor, gianduia is used to great effect when making cookies, ice creams, soft desserts, mousse, and puddings. The famous Gianduiotto chocolate praline also merits a special mention: a symbol of Piedmontese tradition, it's the perfect synthesis of this exceptional delicacy.

chocolate hazelut mousse

And that's not all: gianduia is also winning the hearts and attention of countless chefs, who have chosen to use this creamy mixture for making sauces and as an accompaniment to savory dishes, such as duck-based dishes.

Fall in love with authentic gianduia from the best Italian manufacturers: check out our catalog and buy the most delicious gianduia candy bars online!

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