Gianduja, to me is like the king of pralines, the epitome of nutty chocolate indulgence, and it seems that no one produces them as well as the Italians do.
Recently I was contacted to review an Italian chocolatier - Guido Castagna, who produces bean to bar chocolates in Giaveno, a small city next to Turin. I'm always on the look out for new chocolatiers; especially bean to bar ones, as they are quite a rarity.
Naturally, the first product I wanted to try was this bag of giandujotti; made with 40% Piedmont hazelnuts and red criollo Chuao chocolate from Venezuela, I had a strong feeling that these were going to be pretty incredible.
Packaged in classy yet unassuming bag and wrapped in a bronze foil embellished with Guido Castagna's name, these giandujotti pieces are something else! Unwrapping one you are immediately hit with a pleasant nutty aroma and just from the feel of one you can tell that these are going to be superb melt in the mouth chocolates!
Biting one in half the giandujotti just gives way; like the filling of the best praline you've ever had. The flavours are spot on; quite often with giandujas they are either too sweet with not enough nut flavours or too nutty without enough sugar to fully highlight the flavour. This is not the case here; the hazelnuts are present but there is a background sweetness that balances everything out perfectly and makes it an incredibly delicious chocolate treat.
Sometimes simplicity + good ingredients are the key to a good chocolate product and this cannot be highlighted more than here; quality chocolate, quality hazelnuts and overall an astoundingly good end gianduja. I don't think I'll ever look at another praline the same again!
Taste - 9.4/10 - If you like your gianduja/nutty pralines then I don't think you'll find much better than this.
Texture - 9.5/10 - Incredibly smooth and melts in the mouth beautifully.
Appearance - 7.2/10 - Elegantly packaged.
Price - 8.4/10 - These are priced at £7.50 for a 100g bag which considering they use Chuao chocolate is excellent value!!
Overall - 8.6/10 - The best gianduja/praline I've ever tasted.
Praline + nut lovers who are looking something that is on another level!
WHERE TO BUY?If you're in Italy obviously you can buy them directly from Guido Castagna's shop but for us folk in England you can buy them online at Pristie - an organic grocery store - here.