Each chocolate comes wrapped in small messages of love, like a romantic fortune cookie. This tradition based on the story of a chocolate-maker who supposedly sent romantic notes to a founder of the company the same way.
In fact, that's how the sweets got their name – previously, they had been called 'cazzotti' (punches), a somewhat less romantic moniker due to the round shape.
The sayings already come translated into five languages (Spanish, French, English, Chinese, and Portugues) but now, as part of a special edition of Baci, the notes will be written in some of Italy's dialects to celebrate regional sayings.
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One hundred proverbs from nine dialects have been chosen for the initiative, inspired by a study carried out for Perugina, the company which makes Baci, which revealed a strong desire among young Italians to learn dialect.
The phrases being celebrated in the project include the Neapolitan idiom, “Ògne scarrafne è bèll'a màmm” (every cockroach is beautiful in its mother's eyes), the Milanese saying “I inamoraa guarden minga a spend” (lovers don't care how much they spend), and the phrase “A son mach le muntagne ch'a s'ancontro nen” (only mountains never meet) from the dialect of Perugia, the home of Baci chocolates.
In total, nine dialects will feature, including those of Puglia, Genova, Rome, Venice, Sicily, and Piedmont.
Each saying will be accompanied with a translation in Standard Italian, and the outer wrapping of the sweets will have the word 'bacio' (kiss) in the local dialect – 'Vasu' in Sicilian and 'Baxu' in Genovese, for example.
“Dialect proverbs reflect the sense of belonging to a specific place and culture, but their meaning is universally recognized because they refer to the grand themes that we all share: love, friendship, family, work, and so on,” said the company.
According to the study carried out by Baci Perugina, six out of ten Italian millennials use their local dialects, and the majority are keen to learn more of the regional vocabulary, in order to feel closer to family, understand the history of the language, and enrich their own speech.
And it's not the first Italian chocolate brand to capitalize on the popularity of local languages: Ferrero, the chocolate giant that makes Nutella, launched jars of the spread with messages in dialect in 2015. University linguistics professors helped the brand translate 'buongiorno' (good morning) and other phrases into dialects from 16 areas of the country.
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