Chocolate was a very expensive beverage in the seventeenth century, available only to the wealthy until a Frenchman named Doret living in Torino invented a machine that grinds cacao seeds into paste and solid chocolate was born. Torino produces more chocolate annually than France and Germany. The chocolate hazelnut paste was know as "gianduia" and nutella was developed out of frustration when the Napoleanic War made it impossible to get cacao beans in Italy. So Michele Prochet grounded hazelnuts, which were plentiful in Piedmont, with cacao beans in equal parts.
For 200 years, gianduia chocolate blended with hazelnut, has been one of Italy's signature flavors. The name gianduia comes from a popular marionette and he is the mascot of Torino. In 2005, a committee of experts from the London Academy of Chocolate tested over 300 blends of chocolate and for 3 years in a row a chocolatier located in Pisa, owned by a brother and sister team, has been selected as the best chocolate in the world!!