I don't know about you guys, but I'm a sucker for good family dramas. On the silver screen I mean - in real life it's not as much fun (my husband, for instance, tends to get offended when I reach for the popcorn box while we're in the middle of a fight...)
Anyway, give me a story of love, revenge, family feud, treason and brothers and sisters arguing over leadership and family inheritance - and I'm in heaven.
So when I read about the story of "Chuao", the world's best chocolate, and found it to be a cross between "The Godfather" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - it got my full attention. When I realised it involved Italian vs French protagonists, I knew we'd be in for a bloodbath.
Chuao chocolate bars from Kakawa
You see, even though our two countries are very close (my mother's family are Italian, just to give you an example), we've had our share of 'irreconcilable differences'. Notre-Dame de Paris vs St Peter's Basilica. Eiffel Tower vs Tower of Pisa. Chanel vs Prada. Catherine Deneuve vs Sophia Loren. Baguette vs focaccia. Perrier vs San Pellegrino. France vs Italy at the 2006 Football World Cup. And now Valrhona vs Amedei chocolate.
Amedei, founded in 1990 some 40 miles outside of Florence in Tuscany, is the joint project of a 43-year-old Italian named Alessio Tessieri and his younger sister, Cecilia; he buys the cacao and she turns it into dark, glossy bars. Last, a competition in London awarded a gold prize to one of Cecilia's handiworks, a single-plantation chocolate called Chuao. Two other Amedei products tied for silver.
Both the cult French pâtissier Pierre Hermé and the visionary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià have said that Chuao might, in fact, be the world's greatest chocolate. It's very aromatic, with a clarity and elegance more often found in wine and some single malts. And yet Amedei is sold in only a handful of stores around the world - let alone in Australia.