If forensics were ever to dust for fingerprints in Selfridges, mine would be all over the La Molina XXL slabs of gianduia. Every time I go in, I pick them up and look longingly, but at a penny off £19 for quarter of a kilo, they stay there.
Gianduia was an early foray into fine chocolate. Almost every southern Italian dining room has a glass bowl filled with an assortment of caramelline and cioccolatini. The gianduia - distinctive in gold foil jacket and triangular prism shape - were the top prize and not really meant for the children. But I beelined for them: soft, yielding, barely solid and probably the most satisfying mouth feel you’ll get in a chocolate. In the hot summer heat you had seconds to open the wrapper and get them into your mouth.
Gianduia is chocolate with micro-ground hazelnuts, specifically Piedmont hazelnuts – the best. Some gianduia also houses whole hazelnuts. These days it is easy to find (sometimes spelt gianduja, I judge: there is no j in the Italian alphabet) and often with pitifully few hazelnuts (the ideal is 40%) and sugar as first ingredient. Barely worthy of the moniker.
Mercifully, Selfridges introduced smaller La Molina bars: still expensive (£8.49/100g) and not as good value, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Marks & Spencer does a surprisingly good, dinky version. Too much sugar and half the amount of hazelnuts it should have, but for £1.50 for two chunky pieces, it might be your introduction.