The moment you unwrap your Baci chocolate you know you’ll be met with an instant hit of satisfaction – but even more exciting, a little love note.
Baci, which means “kiss” in Italian, is famous not just for its unique hazelnut taste, but its hidden loves notes.
Now sold in 55 countries, it’s believed Luisa Spagnoli, who invented the popular chocolates in 1922, created the notes as a way to communicate with her lover, Giovanni Buitoni.
He was co-owner of the Perugina chocolate factory which manufactured the Baci chocolates, selling them worldwide.
The pair worked together and would exchange handwritten messages of love sparking a very “controversial affair” at the time.
“They are the signature of each Baci, passing on messages of love, affection and friendship,” Mark McDonald, marketing manager at Mayers Fine Food, told news.com.au.
“However, how they came about was slightly controversial.
“Luisa had a secret lover that worked for the chocolate company. She would wrap secret love notes in chocolates and pass them on to her star-crossed lover.”
But the concept stuck, and Baci Love Notes were born – creating a hint of excitement each time a Baci is unwrapped.
“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same,” one love note reads.
The notes, however, have gone through a number of changes over the years.
In the 1960s, English and French translations were added to the original text in Italian. Then in 1990 the messages were also written in German – and with the addition of two other languages in the 2000s, it meant the messages could now be read in six languages.
And here’s an interesting fact: If you put together all Baci’s love notes, they would stretch 18,000km – the distance from the chocolatier’s base in Perugia, Italy to Melbourne.
Meanwhile, on April 8, 1997 passengers on flight AZ610 from Rome to New York boarded a very special plane – Alitalia had painted its 747 jumbo jet like an enormous tube of Baci.
Aussies are obsessed with Baci chocolate
But while the love affair with Baci chocolates began in Italy, the real fans, surprisingly, are Australians.
Mr McDonald said ever since Baci hit our shores more than 40 years ago, the reception has been very warm.
“Especially from Australian consumers with Italian and European heritage,” he said.
“Every week we receive comments via email and social media, detailing how people have such fond memories of growing up with Baci.
“‘My grandmother in Italy would always bring out the Baci for special occasions’ is a comment we see every single week.”
We love it so much that Australia is the number one consumer of Baci per capita in the world – even higher than Italy, according to Mr McDonald.
“In November and December 2022 alone, Australians consumed more than 31 tonnes of Baci,” he said.
He believes nostalgia plays a huge role in its success Down Under.
“It’s a small, sweet way for people to feel connected to their families in Italy and across Europe,” he said.
“Also, the taste. They are incredibly delicious and very moreish.
“It’s a unique encounter. A creamy gianduja and chopped hazelnut filling, topped with a crunchy whole hazelnut, covered with a fine coating of luscious dark couverture chocolate.”
Mr McDonald said, unlike most of Baci’s competitors, it is still made from couverture chocolate.
“Almost all other chocolate brands use compound chocolate – this means they replace the good (but expensive) cocoa butter with cheap vegetable oil (like palm oil),” he said.
“Baci is palm oil free, crafted from very good quality couverture chocolate and only contains eight ingredients. That’s it.”
Mr McDonald said Baci Perugina is still exclusively produced in Perugia, a small town located in the Umbria region of Italy. Now, 1500 chocolates are made every minute and the recipe has remained unchanged since Luisa Spagnoli came up with it more than a century ago.