History Of The Chocolate Baci
Did You Know Baci Means Kisses In Italian?
One of the most famous Italian sweets is a hazelnut chocolate, individually wrapped, called “Baci.” While the name translated into English means “Kisses” the “Baci and the “Hershey Kiss” are two very different candies. Yet the Perugina and Hershey companies who made them were located across the world from each other, but both chocolate sweets have utilized their custom packaging as probably the most iconic in history!
So what came first - the Baci or the Kiss?
Actually, neither pioneered the candy world for the claim to be the first! If we really dig deeper into the history of chocolate, the “Bud” would take the title for being the first. Yet the “Bud” made by the Wilbur Chocolate Company in 1894, today would simply be known as the common chocolate chip.
The most famous chocolate candy company in the US of course is the Hershey company. The iconic chocolate bar, which is as simple as a chocolate bar could be, is still the same today as it was in the early 1900’s. The Hershey Kiss, while not technically the first drop shaped, was the first to be individually wrapped in foil. In 1907, Hershey founder and candy tycoon Milton Hershey wanted a way for customers to enjoy the chocolate drop, without having it melt all over their hands.
Keep in mind that this was over one hundred years ago. The Wilber Bud was made by pouring melted chocolate into molds, having them set to harden, and then remove the buds from the molds. Not the most efficient was to produce large quantities.
That’s where Milton Hershey’s ingenuity surpassed the capabilities of their competitor. Hershey developed a machine that would produce the Kisses at a much faster pace than the process using a mold. Much like a piping bag with icing, this “state of the art” (for then) machine would drop the right amount of warm chocolate onto the sheet or tray, and when released and lifted up the well known point of the Kiss would be formed into its peak. The Hershey Kiss was born, but how was each packaged in the foil wrapping that made the milk chocolate treat so iconic? By hand, one by one!
For nearly FIFTEEN years, Hershey Chocolate employees wrapped each Kiss by hand! It wasn’t until 1921 that the packaging was taken over by machine. In 1924, their famous tissue tag was added. What you probably don’t know, is that for over 90 years, that little tissue would say “Hershey” but not Kisses. It does today, but only after decades of not having the copyrights to the word.
In the candy world, long before the chocolate Kiss or even the Bud were mainstream sweets, there were plenty of candies (mainly hard candy or made from molasses) popularly known as candy kisses. It would be long after Milton Hershey was head of the chocolate empire located in Pennsylvania, and would have an entire city named after the family, that a judge would finally agree to award the copyrights for Kisses to the Hershey Chocolate Company in 2001.
The Baci Romance
The chocolate company was formed in 1922 but the “Baci” didn’t start out as a kiss. The recipe which was created by Luisa Spagnoli, (in a time when people were more “literal” in naming things based on appearance, or company branding) was called “cazzotto” (punch) by Spagnoli. Because it looked like a punch or fist when it was formed. It was probably a good thing that one of the business partners stepped in questioning how a customer would go into a candy store to say – “Per favore, un cazzotto?” (Excuse me can I have a punch?) Asking for a kiss sounded much nicer than asking for a punch and “Baci” was born.
Known as the most “romantic” sounding of all languages, and some say the same of the people of Italy; of course there’s a romantic story behind the history of the Italian chocolate kiss – Baci!
The Baci (also individually wrapped, but in plastic not foil) too has a tissue tag. But the Baci tag is what we today would call “next level” in comparison to the Hershey Kisses tag. Each Baci chocolate from the very beginning of it’s creation, came with a love note attached.
The Secret Lovers
Once they had the product down, next came the packaging which would prove to be one of the most legendary brand packaging in history! Each “Baci” would receive the iconic Love Note. The idea of it today seems like one person’s brilliant marketing strategy to sell. But that’s not romantic at all, and this is an Italian love story here!
The Baci Love Note legend says that Luisa Spagnoli and one of the company’s founders were “clandestine lovers” who would exchange secret love notes to each other, hidden inside of chocolates. Somehow, their love affair was brought into the company’s branding that would take off across Italy with a massive success! Followed by the rest of Europe and making its way across the ocean to America. The Baci love note was now bilingual. As the chocolate crossed international borders to consumers, the Love Note too would be in their language.
What started with Luisa’s chocolate and her secret love notes, has now become one of the world’s largest and most famous chocolate companies! In 2012, the little Italian chocolate kiss that may have been a punch, turned 90. By the following year there has been over 390 different phrases that wrapped the candy, and in 2014 things got even more personal. The company would now offer personalized Love Notes to be created for that someone special. Just like Luisa did with the very first kiss!
Our Very Own Baci Pops
A long standing Italian tradition, the chocolate covered hazelnut is definitely the most famous chocolate candy, made in countless personal recipes; our Baci Pops are undoubtedly the most popular of our vast selection of handmade chocolates!
Our Italian Baci Pops are made with crushed hazelnuts and cocoa, which is rolled and then dipped into melted dark chocolate, with a white chocolate drizzle.
Try for yourself today! Also available in sets with our other speciality chocolates. A fantastic match with our Roccher pops, with Italian wafer centres.
LA CASA GELATO – Still Family Owned and Operated since 1982!