(With Agie Manego on lens.)
When In Manila and craving for great-quality chocolates, spoil yourself with a box of Villa Del Conte Cioccolato Sublime.
I love chocolates. At age 27, my borderline diabetic blood sugar is an outstanding testament to my affinity for it. In my defense, I prefer dark chocolates over milk chocolates. And ever since making a conscious effort to have a healthier diet (which totally shuts off during the Christmas season), I have become rather selective of the chocolates I eat.
Given the range of fine chocolates I’ve tried, Villa Del Conte Italian chocolates are on top of the list. Imported directly from Padova, Italy, I’m betting my reputation that these are some if not the most decadent chocolates you will ever try!
Villa Del Conte’s first walk-in store at Resorts World Manila.
The Chocolatier’s Touch
Villa Del Conte cioccolato is a 75-year-old craft perfected over three generations of chocolatiers. Though machines have been introduced in the chocolate-making process, the human element in creating these sublime chocolates is still as fascinating as it was in the 1930’s.
Head chocolatier Enrico Nazzareno Cattapan himself chooses the cacao beans to be roasted and used for his chocolate masterpieces. Before pouring the mixture into the large vats, each batch of chocolate mixture is tasted to make sure that the flavor is exactly how it should be.
Prior to wrapping the pralines, the artisans take samples from the batch and feel with their bare hands for inconsistencies, open them up to check the filling inside, and taste the pralines for the rich cacao flavor and smooth texture their chocolates are known for.
Brought to the Philippines by Vincent Aldanese about a year ago, Villa Del Conte Cioccolato Sublime is currently carrying seven kinds of Praline Balls, four flavors of Praline Sticks, sugar-coated Ovicini, and hazelnut Gianduja.
On the average, the minimum percentage of cacao in their milk chocolates is at 32%; while for their dark chocolates, the minimum is at 52%. The high cacao content separates Villa Del Conte from other chocolate brands because of its richer taste, but at the same time the flavor is not so overwhelming that having a second piece would be too much.
The texture of the cioccolato is very smooth as well. Unlike some mass-produced chocolates, Villa Del Conte chocolates do not have that grainy feel in your mouth and when you swallow.
… And swallowed, we did!
Certain chocolates offer textural variations to Villa Del Conte’s patrons. For one, Vince’s favorite Praline Balls in Dark Chocolate with Coffee Cream Filling have tiny bits of coffee suspended in the filling, giving that extra textural bite to the perfect blend of dark chocolate and coffee. They also have Praline Balls with Hazelnut Cream Filling and Cereals. When you bite into this praline, you experience first the harder chocolate shell, then the softer hazelnut filling, and finally the crunch of the small cereal balls within.
Vince and his counterparts in Italy also experimented with different flavors for their praline filling. Beyond the more traditional cacao, caramel, and hazelnut cream filling, the macadamia filling enclosed in a dark chocolate shell is fantastic! They also have Praline Sticks in Milk Chocolate with Banana Cream Filling that triggered different impressions and memories from the group.
The fruit extracts of the praline sticks are infused into the cocoa filling, resulting in mild fruit flavors rather than an overwhelming syrupy taste.
The sugar-coated dark chocolate Ovicini are tons of fun as well. Looking like oversized M&M’s, you can allow it to melt in your mouth for a while before biting. The sugar coating provides an interesting mix with the hazelnut filling while the dark chocolate serves as the ground for the play of flavors.
All right, Gem, we get your excitement over the Ovicini!
Beyond the Chocolates: A Commitment to Artisanal Quality
As much as Villa Del Conte cioccolato are absurdly delicious, one thing that our food-tasting expedition taught us is that it’s more fun to share the experience with other people. If these pralines had the power to bring back special memories from our past, think of what it can do in terms of creating memories for you and the people you care about.
The packaging of Villa Del Conte is an art form in and of itself. Intentionally rustic and elegant as the Italian lifestyle is, the inside of the box features a picturesque view of Padova’s town square.
How to taste your first Villa Del Conte cioccolato.
They also create customized packaging for giveaways in events. Some high-profile patrons include Tim Yap in his Mad Hatter birthday party and the recent Roman Romulo-Shalani Soledad nuptials. But don’t fret because Vince tells us that he can work with any budget their patrons give them. Now that’s customer service at its best!
The Tre packages can be personalized according to the theme of your event.
When In Manila and yearning to try the sublime chocolate experience Villa Del Conte has to offer, drop by any of their shops in Resorts World Manila, Greenbelt 5, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, and Trinoma. The only dilemma you will have is whether you’d share it with your loved ones or keep this chocolate gold all to yourself!
G/F Resorts World Manila (near Café Marriott)
2/F Greenbelt 5
3/F Shangri-La Plaza Mall
(+632) 621 6101; (+632) 893 2575
I would like to thank Vincent Aldanese and Shey Mazon for the hospitality and graciousness you offered to the group. Going through the different cioccolato was such an unbelievable experience!
When In Manila, Treat Yourself to a Sublime Chocolate Experience with Villa Del Conte Authentic Italian Chocolates