Chocolate hazelnut bacio gelato

my favorite ice crea:  gelato al bacio
my favorite ice cream: gelato al bacio

It’s 1901 and Luisa Spagnoli – the daughter of a fishmonger – opens  with her husband  a small confectionery business in the center of Perugia. She will become one of the most eminent business persons in Italy, founder of the Perugina chocolate factory. The women’s fashion clothing brand which has her name still, after almost 90 years, represents a standard of Italian elegance in the world.
In the 1920’s, with the purpose of reducing production costs, Luisa blended some leftover chopped hazelnuts with chocolate and the famous Bacio Perugina was born. Initially, due to its knobbed shape, she rather clumsily named her delicious creation “cazzotto” meaning “punch” – as in punch in the face. Because of the instant success of the confection however, the name was changed to Bacio meaning “kiss”. Each candy was enveloped in a love note and then in silver foil like we know it today.
It’s only too obvious that an ice cream inspired by the delectable – and let me say it – romantic combination of hazelnut and chocolate has become a classic in virtually every gelateria (ice cream shop) in the country.
Gelato al bacio – kiss flavored ice cream – there cannot possibly be a better name for a gelato.

  • 60 gr (2 oz) plain peeled hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 100 gr (3 oz) dark 70 % chocolate
  • 2 heaped tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 120 gr (1/2 cup) plus 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream plus additional for decoration (optional)
  • 200 ml (4/5 cup) full fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small skillet over low heat, dry toast the hazelnuts with 1 tablespoons sugar and a pinch of salt. Keep stirring to coat the hazelnuts with the melted sugar. Continue for a few more minutes until nuts caramelize to a golden brown color, about 5 minutes. Spread them out on a non-stick surface to cool. When cooled, pulverize in a food processor or chop again to obtain a praline.
Meanwhile, heat the milk with the chocolate and sugar. Add the cocoa powder and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat, stir in cream and and vanilla and refrigerate for at least one hour. This will shorten the churning time.
Process the gelato mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. When the mixture is set, sprinkle in the praline and process until it hardens further. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.
Serve with whipped cream and absolutely no sauce.
Serves 6


  1. Letizia-
    You have made my day. Every Christmas I scour store after store until I find Bacio chocolates which become part of the centerpiece for our Christmas feast. I set the table with a decoration of fruits, nuts and evergreens and spread the Bacio throughout. Of course the Bacio is gone before the feast is over. They are my family’s favorite candies. My guests are always intrigued by the little love notes included.
    Having an ice cream recipe to use all year long is, as we say in America, “the icing on the cake.” Thanks so much for providing it. We are in the process of moving back to Cincinnati to be near family. Once we get settled this is the first recipe to try on my list.
    Fondly, Theresa Wright
    PS: I have taught my granddaughter how to make pasta just as I learned from you three years ago. She claims that “cooking with Nonna” is one of her favorite activities.

  2. Welcome back! It is so nice to hear from you again and with such a lovely recipe. You may notice that I now have a new blog. Funny, I am on your blog roll to the left as Morgana. Keep posting, your recipes are alwasy inspring.

    • Hi Francesca! it’s been very busy at the B&B this last month so I don’t get much time for the blog. I did wonder if almost Italian was your blog, I better change the blogroll, thank you for letting me know and for visiting here again!

  3. Letizia this recipe is amazing!! My daughter, Maddie came home and said she needed some gelato to take to school for her Italian club’s lunch. We quickly went to your site as I knew you’d have something delicious and made this gelato. It was the big hit of the lunch!! Mille grazie (sp?)…every recipe I have ever tried from you transports me right back to your beautiful home in Umbria. I am grateful you continue to share your recipes. CB Yoder

  4. This looks so delicious, Letizia! Our eldest daughter is turning 11 this month and wants to have an “Italia-themed” birthday party — I would love to make this gelato for her birthday!

Comments are closed.