an article by: Margit Holzer from Milan
Chocolate is big business in Italy. Annual sales are worth 350 million euro, while consumption has doubled over the past 10 years – going from two to four kilos per capita – and continues to grow .
Traditional Italian chocolate-makers shun alternatives to cocoa butter, which northern European manufacturers tend to use up to the 5% limit allowed by EU regulations. They are worried about the threat of cheaper products eating into their market and are also pushing the EU to grant the best Italian chocolate “Traditional Speciality Guaranteed” (TSG) status. In 2003 purists successfully lobbied for the introduction of a new ‘puro cioccolato’ label here so consumers can spot the difference between the two types. The EU, however, has objected that even the ‘puro cioccolato’ tag amounts to unfair discrimination against competitors. Most artisan chocolate-makers use cocoa with Fairtrade-TransFair certification. This shows the cocoa was traded at a fair price for the Third World farmers and produced in an environmentally friendly way with full respect for workers’ rights .
For defending their pure chocolate Italian had a huge number of events in 2007, mostly in Umbria, the traditional chocolate region.
Also Sicily, above all Modica is very famous for its “cioccolato fondente”.