Perugina’s Baci White

Baci’s big push at Sweets and Snacks 2012 was to promote their new Bacis Whites, which is how I got these free samples. They were basically a white chocolate-covered version of their regular Bacis, which I’ve previously reviewed.

Regular Baci come wrapped in thick white foil with blue stars, while the Baci White were wrapped in thick blue foil with white stars. A bit counterintuitive that the Baci White came in blue, but oh well.

The Baci White was a dome of gianduja paste, which was made of a dry chocolate ganache and chopped hazelnuts. The whole thing was topped with a whole roasted hazelnut and then covered in a creamy white chocolate.

That white chocolate made for a sweeter Baci experience, as it tasted of frosting with vanilla undertones. It was definitely a high quality white chocolate, with a nicely round flavor, but I found it to be too sweet.

The treat was sweet and crunchy and nutty. I loved the roasted nutty experience, but I found that I preferred the regular Baci, which were less sweet and more chocolatey than the White version. An O.

Perugina Chocolates – Cappuccino and White Chocolate

Finally! I’ve made it to the last 2 (of 8) Perugina bars that were generously given to me as free samples at Sweets and Snacks. Last Friday, I covered the “plain” chocolate bars, Monday was chocolate with nuts, and today are the last two, Cappuccino and White Chocolate.

Cappuccino was “crunchy grains of coffee enveloped in milk chocolate.” The subtitle called it “milk chocolate with cappuccino crispy,” so I thought maybe it would be full of cappuccino rice crisps.

Visually, it was obvious to tell that the bar was full of stuff, as its bottom was all bumpy. Somehow, though, that didn’t translate to its texture.

I didn’t feel any crunch; just a tiny amount of subtle starchy grit remained on my tongue after the thick and creamy chocolate melted away, and I was really working to try to find it. I guess the crispies just got dissolved in the chocolate?

The cappuccino bar smelled and tasted strongly of coffee. I had high expectations for a coffee-flavored chocolate bar from Italy, but alas, I found it to be too sweet. More Mocha Frappuccino than fine Italian espresso.

The White Chocolate bar boasted that it was “enhanced by the delicacy of natural vanilla flavor.” The ingredients list was just sugar, milk, cocoa butter, whey, and less than 1% soy lecithin and natural vanilla flavor.

That’s impressively sparse – note the lack of palm oil or any other non cocoa-butter fat.

It had a light snap with a thickly creamy melt. It started off sweet, sweet enough to bring a tiny tinge to my throat, then took on a rotund fruitiness before finishing with a vanilla scent.

Both of these bars were enjoyable enough in small doses (half a square or less) but quickly become too sweet for me. I wouldn’t turn to them for regular snacking, but the remainder of these bars are going to make my next batch of cookies taste awesome. An O.

Perugina Chocolates – Milk Chocolate with Almonds, Dark Chocolate with Almonds, & Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts

Today I’m reviewing three more of the Perugina bars that I got as free samples at Sweets and Snacks. I’d covered the three plain bars last week; today’s theme is chocolate with nuts.

Milk Chocolate with Almonds was described as “a crunchy almond caramel blend with the delicate flavor of milk chocolate.” Its break was soft, and like the plain milk chocolate bar, tasted of caramel and malt.

The bits of almond within the bar were super tiny. They added some crunch and a hint of nuttiness, but the overall effect of the additional almonds was subtle.

Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, with the addition of “crunchy caramelized hazelnut pieces”, was similar in flavor and texture to the almond bar, only its nuts added a dryer crunch. I didn’t get the great roasted nuttiness that I expected from the hazelnuts.

Dark Chocolate with Almonds had a strong, sharp snap. The chocolate itself was already crunchy, and the nuts added more crunch and grit.

The dark chocolate base was deliciously complex: strong cocoa flavors with a light fruitiness and notes of coffee. The almonds added a subtle but noticeable roasty nuttiness.

I enjoyed the Dark Chocolate with Almonds enough to give it an OM. As for the milk + nuts bars, they weren’t nutty enough for me, so just an O.

Perugina Chocolates – Milk, LUISA Dark, & Bittersweet

My first, “Whoa, I’m at a candy convention” moment at Sweets and Snacks came when the guy at the Perugina booth sent me off with one of each of their chocolate bars. Life is good when an Italian gentleman in a fine suit gives you loads of free chocolate. Can that happen more often? Please?

I walked off with 8 bars in all, plus some Baci and their new Baci White. Today, I’m just covering the three “plain” chocolate bars.

All of the bars were 3.5 oz and came packaged in paperboard envelopes that opened width-wise to reveal (and easily release) the foil wrapped bars. The bars themselves were scored into a 2X5 grid of rectangles, each stamped with a cacao pod.

Milk chocolate had a solid snap, though its chew was soft-ish. It melted with a velvety smooth texture, but it didn’t melt in a way that coated my tongue. The flavor was all caramel and malt, like a Whopper with better chocolate and in chocolate bar form.

LUISA Dark was from the “original and exclusive recipe by Luisa Spagnoli, founder of Perugina” and was 51% cacao. It had a sharper snap than that of the milk chocolate. It didn’t melt well until I chomped it up into little bits – then it melted smoothly.

The flavors were quite intense, sweet with the fruity taste of berries. It thickened at the end of the melt and had a bittersweet finish.

Finally, bittersweet chocolate was 70% cacao. Its snap, as expected, was even sharper than those of the milk or LUISA. As I chomped through it, it cracked and dryly shattered between my teeth.

The flavor here was pure cocoa at its best. Deeply earthy, it tasted like good cocoa powder smells.

Though it wasn’t sweet for much of its flavor profile, it also avoided being bitter, making its name sort of a misnomer. Finally, it finished with just a subtle hint of sweetness.

The Perugina milk chocolate wasn’t my favorite milk chocolate – I like my milk chocolates so thick that it glues my tongue to the roof of my mouth – but I loved the flavor intensity of the LUISA and the bittersweet. A O for the milk and an OM for the other two.

Baci Perugina

Remember Sixpence None the Richer? No? Remember “Kiss me beneath the milky twilight/lead me out on the moonlit floor/lift your open hand/strike up the band and make the fireflies dance/silver moon sparkling” (weird grammar there)? Still no? Maybe this will jog your memory. It’s frightening how quickly those useless lyrics come back instantly, yet I can’t remember the definitions of all the fancy and never used SAT vocab words I memorized four years ago now that I’m starting to prep for GREs.


That’s a long enough mental detour, I think. Back to the  candy! Baci Perugina, an Italian confection, are a Duty Free staple. In fact, I can’t remember seeing them anywhere but in Duty Free shops and at Economy Candy, where I got my box. Loyal readers and vigilent will remember that the one time I’ve been to Economy Candy was back in September of last year (while caring readers can take heart, for halvah is easy to find in Cambridge!). That means my Baci sat around in the bottom of my candy drawer for months before I finally got around to eating them.

The box claims that Baci Perugina are “An Italian Tradition of Passion and Style” and lets the consumer know that they are “dark chocolate with whole & chopped hazelnuts.”  My favorite message from the candy came from the slip of paper that came with it. Mine, in several languages, said “Given the right chance women are capable of anything.” Resisting urge to make explicit political comment and…

As you can see from the photo, there is indeed at least one whole hazelnut in the Baci Perugina that comprises a neat little tumor hat for the chocolate. You can also see that I wasn’t paying attention and photographed the wrapped Baci upside down. My little box contained two Baci, which was the perfect amount for a taste, unlike the giant pallets of Duty Free Baci sold in international terminals.

It was also just enough for me to realize that I don’t really like Baci enough to ever buy a giant Duty Free pallet of Baci. It’s chock full of those chopped and whole hazelnuts, so much so that the confection becomes too dry. And I found the chocolate filling that mixed with the hazelnuts to be too dry as well, though that may have been due to how old my Baci were.

All in all, I’d rather have a Rocher than a Baci to satisfy my cravings for walnut-sized chocolate and hazelnut confections, as Rocher are far creamier and have a bit more going on. Still, the Baci wasn’t bad, and I loved the feminist affirmation so much that I carried it around with me in my wallet until I lost it. Plus I’d probably buy another pair of Baci again just to see if they’re any better fresh, and Baci is really fun to say, so they get an OM. Baci baci baci baci. Kiss me, beneath the milky twilight…

This just in: Baci means “Kiss” in Italian. Suddenly it all sort of makes sense. And, as this has been one of my sillier, more nonsensical reviews (I blame the Baci website and song for completely throwing me out of my proper candy reviewing mindset), I shall point you to Cybele’s review of the Baci Bar, with the warning before you read it that you may never be able to try a Baci Bar because they seem to no longer exist, and that is quite saddening.