Being Belgian, I have to admit I am a bit of a chocolate snob. I have a ‘dark’ side inside. I heard about this mysterious ‘Torta Pistocchi,’ but had a few reservations. What I discovered was a perfect treat for any chocolate addict.
Its creator is Claudio Pistocchi: a Florentine savory chef by education, yet with a sweet spot for making desserts. Like many great discoveries, the idea for his famous pie came almost accidentally. It originated from a customer’s request to create a chocolate tart that would stay fresh for a longer period of time. After a few years of experimentation and perfecting the original recipe, ‘La Torta Pistocchi’ has become a staple of Italian gourmet stores.
Enter the Pistocchi tasting shop and you will find that Claudio’s company has grown outside the boundaries of just selling pies. Today, you can choose from a wide variety of pralines, chocolate covered citrus fruits, chocolate bars, and dragees. For the Nutella addicts, Pistocchi’s ‘Crema di Guanduja’ [made of hazelnuts from the Piemont region] could be a fitting alternative.
With a plate of chocolates in one hand, a coffee in the other, I kick off my tour of ‘Torta Pistocchi.’ Claudio talks about his early start in a restaurant called ‘Mighty Business’, his decision to sell his successful deli shop a few years ago, and how that contributed to his personal happiness. In the atelier I meet the smiley team that, together with Claudio, is responsible for the handcrafted chocolate delights: Claudia [Claudio’s sister], Carla and Scarlett. Also mom and dad Pistocchi pay the occasional visit.
At the end of our shoot I ask Claudio if he ever misses being in a kitchen. He smiles and points at his black chocolate maker outfit: ‘my skin still asks for white.’ I am happy he decided to stick to his dark side.