Baci from Alassio and D’Annunzio’s gallantry
The Baci invented in 1919 by Pasquale Balzola are also known as “the sweets of gallantry”, a designation coined by Gabriele D’Annunzio, the great Italian writer – and perhaps even greater copywriter.
D’Annunzio was a habitué of Balzola’s bar and pastry shop in Alassio, a beautiful town in the coast of Liguria: he often stopped there for a break with his two greyhounds and Eleonora Duse. His successful slogan, however, was inspired by a slightly embarrassing episode: one day, he was short on cash to pay the bill (and that was neither the first nor the first time). He got off with a smile and that compliment: “Your baci are the sweets of gallantry”, which the lenient owner accepted in payment.
Perhaps this graciousness – as much as the town’s gorgeous sunny weather, immortalized in Arturo Graf’s verse “Here is Alassio, making the sun fall in love” – helped make the wonderful chocolate and hazelnut sweets a popular classic. It still is a favorite at Caffè Pasticceria Balzola.