On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, we took a bus to San Sisto to visit the Perugina Chocolate Factory. We went with the undergrad group who were studying at Gonzaga-in-Florence. When we arrived, we started the tour with a brief movie about the history of chocolate making and the operations of the chocolate factory. After the movie, we walked through the Perugina museum and saw the “School of Chocolate,” where they teach people how to make chocolate. The tour guide explained how the different types of chocolate became famous. In particular, the Baci chocolate, which is hazelnut and chocolate, is what Perugina is most known for. Shortly after, we went over to the tasting room and sampled different types of chocolate including white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and extra dark chocolate. Some of the samples contained almonds and hazelnut.
From there we were able to take a tour of the factory where the chocolate is made and packaged from a catwalk above the machines. Unfortunately, the workers were in a union meeting during our tour so we were not able to see the process in action. Similar to our previous Coca-Cola tour, the entire process is almost completely automated and had the workers been there, they most likely would have only have been monitoring the machines. After the tour we had a chance to talk with the guide and ask her more questions. One of the most interesting facts we learned was that summer is the chocolate industry’s slow season so in the spring, the factory generally only runs every other week. Following the tour, we were each able to purchase chocolate and souvenirs from their gift shop and then we all climbed back on the bus for the 2 hour drive back to our hotel. The entire experience was very educational and it was perfect timing, because it ended up building on our previous knowledge from the chocolate tour in Belgium last week.
Christy Vu & Kyla Gabriel