Baci: the chocholates of lovers
Here in Italy they are a big hit, even almost 100 years after their creation. We mostly give them as presents for Saint Valentine’s day, but also on Mother’s Day and a variety of other occasions. In fact, we love them so much, that we eat them all year round. They are cute to look at, they have a surprise quotation hidden in their wrapping and they are delicious! What’s not to love?
But what is the story of the Baci chocolates?
It all started in Perugia, in 1907, with the foundation of the Perugina company by Luisa Sargentini and her husband Annibale Spagnoli together with Leone Ascoli and Francesco Buitoni, a confetti laboratory that would soon start to produce chocolate.
During the First World War, only Mrs Spagnoli remained with her sons to manage the factory, and it was during this period that the business flourished and expanded.
In this fertile time for her activity, Luisa Spagnoli set her mind on creating new chocolate sweets. She experimented a bit with leftovers from other productions and ended up creating a real delicacy: a bonbon made of gianduja, chopped hazelnuts and one whole hazelnut encasted on top, all wrapped in a layer of dark chocolate.
She called this chocolate “Cazzotto”, because it resembled a fist with the hazelnut protruding from the round chocolate like a knuckle.
It was her young lover, Giovanni Buitoni that suggested a change of name. It was not very nice to enter a shop and ask for a “punch” (cazzotto), but to present a girl with a box of chocolate and ask her if she would like a kiss, now, that was romantic! And a bit cheeky as well. A very smart idea marketing-wise.
It was 1922, and the Bacio was born.
Graphic designer and artistic director of Perugina Federico Seneca, was in charge of designing the packaging of the Bacio. Seneca chose a silver foil wrapping with blue writing and for the packaging he got his inspiration from the famous painting by Francesco Hayez, entitled "The Kiss".
Giovanni Buitoni gave Luisa’s creation the last touch of genius, deciding to insert a quotation about love in the wrapping of each chocolate. This was the idea that perhaps had more success, people bought Baci not only for their delicious taste but also to discover the secret messages enclosed inside the wrapping.
We could say that this chocolate is something very Italian. It has all the characteristics that are dear to us: the ability to create a sophisticated and innovative product starting from simple materials, the fascination for beautiful things, creativity and obviously, romanticism!