Second day of the fifth annual Barga Cioccolata event organised by Barga Events and the Comune of Barga with chocolate makers from Lucca, Pistoia, Empoli, Firenze, Arezzo, Barletta and Torino displaying their wares in Piazza Angelio, in the Galleria Il Marzocco; Piazza del Comune, in the main entrance hall of the Palazzo Pancrazi; piazza Garibaldi, the Museum of memory and inside Palazzo Balduini. (the first day can be seen here)
Barga Cioccolata has been plagued over the years by bad weather disrupting the celebrations. This year according to all weather predictions it was going to be another difficult event with heavy snow fall predicted on one hand or rain on the other. What actually happened was neither but it was a close thing. The cold weather on Saturday repeated itself the following day but the organisers had a card up their sleeves – first thing Sunday morning they set up in each piazza a wood fire to keep the visitors warm as they moved thorough Barga Vecchia and the rain kept away until most of the visitors to Barga had returned to their houses.
Tuscany’s young chocolatiers trace their roots to one man: Roberto Catinari. A native of Pistoia, Mr. Catinari studied with Swiss chocolatiers for two decades starting in the 1950s. In 1974, he returned home with a suitcase full of recipes and, a few years later, opened a small storefront shop bearing his name (Via Provinciale, 378; Agliana; 39-0574-718-506; www.robertocatinari.it).
He started making plain bars of chocolate, but like Mr. Wonka and his factory, Mr. Catinari was soon toying with pralines, crushed nuts, grappa and wildly ornate sculpture like soccer trophies, pliers and small woodland creatures. His creations — rich, velvety, sweet but not cloying — were a hit. The Chocolate Valley was born.
Also present in Barga Vecchia on Sunday were the Associazione Italiana Celiachia sezione MediaValle e Garfagnana who were there with the Chef, Marco Scaglione making hot chocolate and crepes with chestnut flour and all with glutine.
Click on the link below to hear a spokesperson for AIC sezione MediaValle e Garfagnana and the Chef, Marco Scaglione talking about the Associazione Italiana Celiachia (in Italiano)
For the first year in collaboration with the Associazione B.A.R.G.A there was also a Christmas market with stalls right through Barga Vecchia.
Hidden in amongst some of the usual stalls were a couple of newcomers. Some really interesting stone, pebble pick and mix figures and some very classy decorated ceramics from Nicola Salotti