In our research group there is an old tradition that travellers must bring chocolates for the other members of the team who remained in Portugal. The tradition is such that the Astrid Hagen, a German post-doc girl who worked with us for some years, baptised our meeting room as the chocolate room. It seems that, even then, the tasting sessions outnumbered the meetings.

The search for a new types chocolates is thus one of the most important activities in our business travels. In one of my strolls in Florence, I found a chocolate factory named Vestri (Borgo Albizi, 11r). The chocolates have incredible fillings such as Earl Grey, chilli pepper and various creams of liquor. They also have crystallized slices of orange and apricot covered with chocolate. I had to buy almost two pounds of chocolate.

However, the best thing in the store is not easily transportable: “Cioccolato Caldo Vestri.” Like the other Vestri products, the hot chocolate is spiced with chilli pepper and, if the quantity is not enough, there is a pepper shaker available at the store. For those who did not have the chance to try the original, they can follow the recipe available on the Internet.