How did a car manufacturer give birth to the best chocolate to come out of Italy?

In 1911 the Turin based car manufacturer FIAT held a competition for all Italian chocolatiers to create a new chocolate to celebrate the launch of its new FIAT Tipo 4. “Il Cremino” by Aldo Majani of Bologna won the competition and secured its place along side other classic Piedmont chocolates. Amber Rust has made it her mission to bring these giandiotti from Turin to the UK.

While working in Turin, Amber discovered the Cremini and realised that she had to share the talent and skills of chocolate makers in Turin with the world. Her brand Bonieri sells Cremini, the gianduja created by the FIAT competition just over a hundred years ago. The brand started off as luxury gift chocolate boxes sold exclusively at Harrods, and then expanded out to Selfridges.

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What was the hardest thing about trying to share the chocolate with the market? “Validation and competition”, says Amber. Chocolate is a hugely competitive market. Consumers tend to stick to the things they know, which in this case is either other chocolate brands, or terrible giandiotti. Getting the name out there and finding a way to get consumers to try something new was no easy feat. Bonieri has won Great Taste awards every year since it started, and this helped to validate the brand.

How do you pronounce Gianduja? Or Giandiotti? Many of us would have no idea unless someone with some real insight and a penchant for pronunciation gave us a lesson. These are all small barriers to sales, and Bonieri has overcome these as their brand has grown from strength to strength.

The real dealbreaker: Bonieri’s chocolate just tastes better than any other giandiotti we’ve tried at Halal Gems HQ. It reflects the authenticity and heritage of chocolate makers in Turin. Most importantly it uses minimal ingredients. Made with just a few ingredients, which follows my Michael Pollan based food policy of never eating anything with more than five ingredients (see our manifesto here), you can really taste the hazelnuts. The clean, creamy taste comes from that simplicity and ethos, which is better for your health, enjoyment, taste and flavour.

Since Amber created the chocolate with a traditional recipe, it also happens to be vegan friendly. Side note: I was first introduced to Bonieri’s sugar free range when we received a box at a time when I had decided to live refined sugar free, and thought good quality chocolate was a distant memory. The chocolate was so incredible that I now only buy the sugar free version, even though refined sugar has crept back in to my diet in the form of cake. Sometimes I just need a moist sponge, ok?

You can order Bonieri here on Amazon Prime.

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Amber’s tips for entrepreneurs:

Think about your point of difference in the market. Have strong branding. It took us a long time to find the right name and the right look. That attention to detail is very important. When it comes to taste, think of trends.

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