Dallas gets a spot on the international chocolate map thanks to a Highland Park Village cheese shop, which has made a deal with a prestigious chocolate maker from Italy.
The cheese shop is Molto Formaggio, and the chocolate is from Guido Gobino, a Turin company well-known for its chocolate treats incorporating fine hazelnuts. In 2008, the company's cremino, a hazelnut and chocolate piece blended with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, won an award for the world's best praline in the Academy of Chocolate competition in London.
Other than flying to Italy, consumers previously had limited access to Guido Gobino's chocolates; online chocolate shop ChocoSphere was one of the only places to buy it. A small selection of the chocolates are now sold at Eataly, which has branches in New York and Chicago, and one being considered for Boston in 2016.
Molto Formaggio owner Michael Perlmeter says he's made a "major commitment" to stocking Guido Gobino and even has a few one-of-a-kind items not available elsewhere. "I'm carrying everything they can ship out of the country," he says. "Unfortunately, a lot of things they do, they can't ship to the United States."
The collection includes bonbons; boxes of chocolates; and trademark Gobino specialties such as giandujotto, the bite-sized, foil-wrapped candies made from chocolate and Piedmont hazelnuts.
"We also have two new single-source dark chocolate bars, where they're bringing the entire pod from Mexico and processing it in Turin and making the most wonderful pure dark chocolate. It's just stunning," Perlmeter says. "We also have an item, what they call 'The Elements,' that was done in conjunction with the Slow Foods group, of which I'm a part. It's the most beautiful little gift item.
"Basically, it's their dark chocolate 'deconstructed,'" he says. "There's an actual cocoa bean, roasted and coated in dark chocolate and cocoa powder. In the center of the box is natural brown sugar. And the last third of the box are the three dark chocolates, the finished product. You can eat the cocoa beans, use the brown sugar and then you have the dark chocolate."
That Dallas would get a supply of Guido Gobino seems cosmic, given the fact that its legacy item, gianduia, was the topic of a 36-part series on Dallasfood.og, a locally based food blog. Gianduia is the gourmet predecessor to Nutella, the chocolate-hazelnut spread that has become hugely popular in the past few years. The series explored the history of gianduia dating back to its creation in the 19th century.
Although cheese is Molto Formaggio's primary item, the store has a large assortment of chocolates from noted makers around the country, including John Kelly from Beverly Hills; Fran's from Seattle; Poco Dolce from San Francisco; and Ritual, the bean-to-bar company from Utah.