Their star-studded sparkly silver wrappings have been a mainstay at Italian restaurants across the peninsula since 1922. They are an essential Valentine's Day gift and a safe offering at any wedding, dinner party or special event.
The hazelnut and gianduia-filled chocolates already came in three varieties: milk, white and dark chocolate coatings.
Now Perugina have launched a ruby-coated limited edition. “Artificial flavours are not added and the pink colour is the result of special processing,” reads a statement by Perugina, a chocolate company based in Perugia, Umbria.
“Ruby chocolate was created by Swiss chocolatier Barry Callebaut, which [sic] spent over a decade developing this innovative flavor,” adds a statement by Nestlé.
Baci – which in Italian means kisses – each come with a small love note. Customers can also have their own personal message added to a note hidden inside the chocolate's wrapping.
Messages by writers, artists and romantics have all appeared on Baci Perugina's love notes. “Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind,” goes a William Shakespeare line from A Midsummer Night's Dream. “Love is not only a feeling; it is also an art,” reads another message by French author Balzac. Michelangelo, Dante and Nietzsche have all been featured on the notes printed in blue ink on transparent paper.
The chocolates weren't always tinted with romance. Baci were originally called 'cazzotti' (punches) because the shape resembles a closed fist.
Baci love notes traditionally appeared in Italian, French, English and Spanish. In 2017, messages in Portuguese and Chinese also began to appear.
Perugina also launched a special edition featuring 100 proverbs written in nine Italian dialects last year.
Swiss food giant Nestlé brought Perugina in 1988. In 2016, Nestlé invested €20 million into the Perugia HQ as part of a €60 million three-year upgrade to conquer new markets with the chocolates.
“Baci Perugina has an exceptional legacy of tradition. Sales results of several countries confirm that the product has the potential to win in foreign markets,” stated Nestle in 2016.