In a Chocolate Dream

Fellow tour guide, Luca and I taste some of our free chocolate

Last Sunday marked the end of the two-week long choco-party in Perugia, Italy. In fact, I’m eating the remains of one of my “free-gadgets” as we speak. Every October, Perugia hosts Europe’s biggest chocolate festival, Eurochocolate, and this year I got to be an expert. I spent the week leading up to the festival translating the all-Italian website into English for our dear students. Being nowhere near fluent in Italian, that was feat in itself and I must say, I’m quite proud of myself, in fact, I’m giving myself a quick pat on the back. Ok done. Here is all there is to know about Eurochocolate:

For only €5 you can become the proud owner of your very own Chococard which will entitle you to free treats from some of chocolates top names (leave it to Italy to make chocolate into fashion), including; Lindt, Milka, Nestlé, and Perugina. This handy little card provides enough freebies to feed your sweet-tooth without actually spending any money! Of course, if you want to be thoughtful and generous you can find some delectable sweet treats for your family and friends back home, but I didn’t spend anything. I’m a cheap/backpacker/student/young adult, give me a break! But really, sorry Mom.

This chococard will send you off running through the maze of stands in a child-like hunt to collect all of the treasure. Each little surprise is just as sweet as the last,well some are better than others, but it’s about the anticipation!

We have Eugenio Guarducci to thank for this lovely festival. In 1994, Guarducci spent some time at Oktoberfest where he was influenced by a liter or two of tasty Hofbrau Original. He was inspired to create a little festival of his own, using a product a little closer to home. With that, Eurochocolate was born, and today it still celebrates local favorites and allows chocolate connoisseurs all over the world to have a little heyday of their own.

That would be what we call a Chocokebab... mmmm

The festival completely overtakes the little hilltop town of Perugia. I am glad I had a chance to visit Perugia before it was covered in white tents so that:

a. I would be able to slightly recognize where I was going and where I needed to be to meet my students and,

b. could still appreciate the authenticity of the adorable little town even covered in it’s white tents and tourists.

Don’t forget to stop and take in the sights of the festival in your mad scramble to get all the goodies. I don’t think the stalls will be running out of anything. Although the marketing and media attempts are badly translated the gadgets are clever, including a map of Perugia carved into a chocolate bar and a real, albeit rickety, ferris wheel. I get a little bit finicky around crowds, and if you are like me take a break from the confusion and walk out to the road overlooking the Umbrian hills surrounding, it will definitely be the breath-of-fresh-air you needed.