In November 1907, with 70,000 lire in initial capital (about $35.00), the Perugina Chocolate Company was founded. From humble beginnings in a small kitchen in Perugia’s historical center, the Perugina grew to its current huge size. Though “la Perugina” has had many successful marketing campaigns, the most famous is the “bacio.” Literally a “kiss” the bacio is chocolate-covered nougat with a hazelnut on top – but the best part is the message. Wrapped around each bacio is a little sheet of waxed paper with famous quotes about love in four or five different languages. “A kiss is forever. – Un bacio è per sempre.”
La Perugina will of course be present at next week’s chocolate festival. Eurochocolate, Perugia’s counterbalance to the summer’s Umbria Jazz Festival, begins on October 18th. An eight-day frenzy of chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, the festival draws hundreds of thousands of people from all over northern and central Italy and beyond. Umbra Institute students, though on their Fall Break, will have time to sample chocolate-covered bananas, hot-pepper chocolate, and…a bacio from la Perugina!