We all know that Italian dishes such as pasta and pizza are pretty special, but did you know that Italians are wonderful chocolatiers as well?
In fact, Turin – the city where Mat was born – is known as the Chocolate Capital of Europe, and for good reason!
Cioccolato (plural: cioccolati) was first brought to the city in the mid-1500s by Duke Emanuele Filiberto in celebration of the transfer of the Ducal capital from Chambéry to Turin.
Since then, many famous chocolate products have emerged from the city and other areas in the Piedmont region, including the bicerin (a hot drink featuring mix of coffee, chocolate and cream), the gianduiotto (a chocolate made from a mix of cocoa powder, hazelnuts, cocoa butter and vanilla), and of course, the various brands from Ferrero including the eponymous Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Kinder and Nutella.
Mangiare troppo cioccolato fa male alla salute.
Eating too much chocolate is bad for your health.
When referring to individual chocolates that you buy in bulk or in a package rather than the generic noun, you would say cioccolatini (singular: cioccolatino). This means “little chocolate(s)” when translated literally.
Non è possibile fermarsi a un solo cioccolatino.
It isn’t possible to stop at just one chocolate.
Dark chocolate is known as cioccolato fondente, milk chocolate translates to cioccolato al latte, whereas white chocolate is simply cioccolato bianco. To say that something is chocolatey, you would use the adjective cioccolatoso.
La mousse è un dolce molto cioccolatoso.
Mousse is a very chocolatey dessert.
Another alternative to the word cioccolato is cioccolata (plural: cioccolate), which is essentially the same word transformed into a feminine noun.
Although many Italians consider them interchangeable, many people (including Mat himself) use cioccolato when referring to solid chocolate and cioccolata when referring to chocolate in its liquid state. This is why people tend to say cioccolata calda (hot chocolate) when talking about the drink.
Il giorno del mio compleanno, ho mangiato una fetta di torta al cioccolato e ho bevuto una cioccolata calda.
On my birthday, I ate a piece of chocolate cake and drank a hot chocolate.
Some other popular words you can combine with cioccolato are:
- latte al cioccolato = chocolate milk
- gelato al cioccolato = chocolate ice cream
- gocce di cioccolato = chocolate chips
- barretta / tavoletta di cioccolato = chocolate bar
Someone who makes chocolate for a living is called a cioccolataio (chocolatier) and the place where he/she makes or sells the chocolate is a cioccolateria (chocolate shop).
And if you want to talk about the smell or taste of chocolate? Well, you can use the following expressions:
- al gusto di cioccolato = chocolate flavoured
- il sapore di cioccolato = the taste of chocolate
- il profumo / l’aroma di cioccolato = the smell of chocolate
Finally, if you ever visit Turin in the wintertime, be sure to check out the Festa di Cioccolato – or CioccolaTò as it is known. Held every year in November since 2003, it is a true celebration of homemade chocolate in all its delicious forms!
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.