Baci di Dama, fragrant hazelnut hugs

The most romantic of sweets: two tasty hazelnut cookies united in a kiss thanks to a thin layer of dark chocolate.

Baci di Dama are the famous Piedmont cookies that you are bound to have tried at some point. The little domes of buttery shortbread containing almonds or hazelnuts (depending on the recipe) joined by a layer of dark chocolate are called ‘baci di dama’ - ‘lady’s kisses’ - because they are reminiscent of two sets of lips united in a kiss.

Before we reveal the secrets of our Hazelnut Baci di Dama let’s find out where they come from and learn more about their back story, a mixture of truth and legend.


Separating fact from fiction

Legend has it that Baci di Dama were invented in the House of Savoy during the middle period of the Risorgimento, in 1852 to be precise. One spring day, King Vittorio Emanuele asked the palace pastry chefs to invent an original and special sweet that nobody had ever tasted before. Quite a challenge given that Italy’s leader also told his men to only use the ingredients they had in the pantry and nothing more. The expert hands of the royal pastry chefs did not disappoint the palate of his royal highness and created the first ever Baci di Dama, which would subsequently become popular with royal families all over Europe for their unmistakable flavor.

This legend is particularly evocative because it is connected with a royal house with which many Piedmont traditions are associated. However, as is often the case with classic Italian recipes, the true origins of Baci di Dama are somewhat different, although no less important and interesting. It is widely thought that these tasty little pastries were first made in Piedmont at the height of the Belle Époque, and more specifically in the province of Alessandria in 1893. The creators were Pasticceria Zanotti of Tortona, which still makes the pastries to the same recipe and in the same form today, as well as abiding by the rule that the perfect Bacio di Dama must weigh around 0.4 oz.

There are different variants of Baci di Dama even if the two main recipes involve the exclusive use of either hazelnuts or almonds. Hazelnuts were widely used in Piedmont sweets at the time as they were easily sourced in the Langhe and, as a result, relatively cheap.

Almonds, meanwhile, were used as an ingredient by Stefano Vercesi, owner of the pastry shop of the same name, who added a sprinkling of cocoa powder to the dough to create the so-called Baci Dorati (‘golden kisses’) which won the gold medal at the 1906 Milan Expo.

Fratelli Carli Hazelnut Baci di Dama: the perfect blend of uniqueness and tradition

Fratelli Carli Hazelnut Baci di Dama are inspired by the traditional recipe and, to make them even more unique, also contain Carli Olive Oil. A detail that makes them incredibly crumbly and ensures that they melt pleasantly in the mouth. The fragrance of hazelnut and chocolate is irresistible and the ingredients are of the utmost quality:

  • whole shelled hazelnuts, of the Italian round variety, with a delicate and unmistakable flavor. Whole hazelnuts (i.e. not chopped or powdered) guarantee a higher quality product and are only toasted, shelled and ground before being used and in the right quantity;
  • citrus fruit honey, with its medium intensity fruity and floral notes, is ideal for preparing pastries;
  • Carli Olive Oil, sweet and subtle, makes it possible to create a highly original variant of the traditional recipe, which usually contains a mix of butter and margarine or just butter. The Olive Oil not only complements the flavor of these pastries, it also enhances the texture, beautifully crumbly and surprisingly melt-in-the-mouth;
  • dark chocolate, with nothing added, for the filling.

The preparation process is simple but masterful: after measuring out all the ingredients, you make the dough. You then cut out little semi-spherical cookies, slightly flattened, which will be held together by a thin layer of creamy dark chocolate.

The resulting pastries, perfectly round, will therefore have a rustic, rough and ready appearance and an amber color due to the presence of the hazelnuts, which make up 18% of the dough.

In the mouth the pastries are rich and full-flavored with strong hints of hazelnut that are perfectly balanced out by the chocolate. What really catches you by surprise is the finish, a sweet and sophisticated aftertaste which pervades the palate.

To ensure that Fratelli Carli Hazelnut Baci di Dama are always perfect, these pastries are not available during the hottest months of the year but only from September to April, when the weather conditions are optimal for their storage.

Now we have revealed all our secrets you’ll no doubt be dying to try them!


At the end of a meal or as a tasty snack: every moment is the right moment for a Bacio di Dama

Baci di Dama are perfect for serving at the end of a meal, either on their own or together with a good sweet or fortified wine. They are also excellent with a mid-morning coffee or a tea or hot chocolate during the afternoon, even better if topped with a bit of cream.

Once you’ve had one you’ll immediately want another!

So what are you waiting for? Come and taste them in one of our Emporiums or order your Hazelnut Baci di Dama without leaving the house by visiting our website.