Erotic, Etruscan Chocolate

February 17, 2009 / Food & Wine

Steep Via Cairoli connecting two of Viterbo’s main piazze is a typical Italian street with dozens of tiny shops: a bookshop, pharmacy, travel agency and a pastry shop.

The one we feature here, Pasticceria Casantini, has been churning out great cappuccini, gelati and pastries since 1970 and is known for cakes with seasonal themes that can be admired in its window. There are the usual sweets for the Carnival season, but this year also saw unique Etruscan style vases made of chocolate for St.Valentine’s Day. The shop’s chocolate specialist, Katia, showed us pure chocolate bucchero ware similar to vases dating from 500 B.C. kept in the nearby National Museum.

eroticchocolate2Besides these items though other chocolate “temptations” they have for sale remind us that the Etruscans were the original pleasure seekers and inventors of the “dolce vita”, even if they did not have chocolate. These are discreetly kept behind a red curtain – pushed aside often, however. St.Valentine’s Day saw brisk business.


Mary Jane Cryan

by Mary Jane Cryan

A resident in Italy for half a century, Mary Jane writes for Italian and English magazines, guidebooks, and has authored several books about central Italy.  She published two books last year  “The Irish and English in Italy’s Risorgimento ” and  Etruria – travel, history and itineraries in Central Italy .  Check  her award winning website for reviews and to order signed  copies.    Etruria  Storie e Segreti,  in Italian and  in full color, has just been released .  Signed copies   of   Mary Jane’s books can be ordered directly from her website 

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