An Olympic-sized Chocolate Festival

With the Winter Olympics in Torino coming to a close, attention has been drawn to the next big thing in Italy.  Conveniently placed right after Valentine’s Day and this year’s Olympics, the Cioccolato Festival will once again remind people what they’re really craving: more chocolate.

The annual festival, which begins in March, attempts to please even the most decadent chocolate lovers.  A 24-hour “chocopass” is $11 and affords each visitor a chance to sample local favorites from 23 stores, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.  

Anyone staying to enjoy the city after the games will surely be pleased with the festival and the abundant gourmet chocolate offerings.

"This is good chocolate, not like you get over there in the United States," noted Ana Garcia, the manager for Mamy Cao, a local gelaterie parlor.    

One of the more famous chocolate-lover’s paradises is Al Bicerin, an all-woman run shop that has been serving handmade chocolate since 1763.  Its claim to fame is Bicerin, a Turinese blend of coffee, hot chocolate, milk and whipped cream that has visitors and locals alike clamoring for more.

But everyone at Mamy Cao understands the importance of trying to make the best chocolate possible for the upcoming festival.  

"We make different types of chocolates, with different spices and different nuts," Garcia says. "We have chocolates with wine, fruit, cream. We make the chocolate bars from cacao from many countries."

Some will argue that the best imported chocolate in the world comes from Belgium or France, but owners of Mamy Cao hope to continue to prove otherwise at the Cioccolato Festival in Turin.  

The festival comes 4,000 years after the suspected discovery of chocolate in the Amazon reports Ghirardelli, a renowned California-based chocolate factory.  Chocolate has fast become one of the world’s most popular treats.  Currently, the average American eats 12 pounds of chocolate candy per year, and the world as a whole has seen chocolate intake continue to rise by 3% each year.     

The locals hope that the Olympic games promote continued success for the increasingly popular event.  The Olympics and chocolate have become truly global.  People want more varieties and tastes with each serving - whether they are everyday, every year or every four.