Italians take chocolate seriously, but much like tomatoes and corn, cacao is relatively new.
None of those ingredients entered Italian cuisine until the Columbian Exchange that took place between Europe and the Americas after Christopher Columbus’s exploration in 1492. Now, you will see chocolate used in a variety of dishes from savory to sweet. In Turin, you can drink a bicherin, a chocolate and espresso drink topped with cream, and Capri is known for its flourless chocolate cake. But cacao is naturally bitter, so it was first considered a spice. Even now, in Tuscany, chocolate is added to sauces that coat venison and wild boar, and chefs from New York to Milan will sometimes incorporate a small amount into pasta dough.