Besides wine and truffles, Alba is also the home of Ferrero, Italy's premier chocolate company. The multinational confectionary giant makes Ferrero Rochers, Nutella and Tic Tac mints. Besides the company's corporate headquarters, Alba is also the home of a massive Ferrero chocolate factory. You can actually smell the chocolate when you walk by.
For breakfast, Italian kids love nothing better than a piece of crusty bread with Nutella slathered all over it. And I have to admit my boys picked up the Nutella-loving habit when we lived here when they were little. (It's not a hard habit to acquire).
So the idea of touring the factory and seeing how they make the Nutella was just too good to resist.
I knew it was hard though. All the guidebooks tell you the factory is impossible to visit. The hotel manager likened it to Fort Knox.
So when we met a man who worked at Ferrero at the no-truffles restaurant the other night, I couldn't believe our luck. We chatted about the company for awhile and he told us he could arrange for us to visit the factory. And take pictures. He gave me his card and said to call him on his cell the next day to figure out a time we could meet this morning.
I called him late in the evening last night after our day of touring hilltop villages and vineyards. You're allowed to call Italians late. After all, we had met him at around midnight at the restaurant.
He had been waiting for my call, he said. Great, when are we meeting in the morning?
There's been a problem though, he said. Perhaps he could arrange something for the next few days, but not tomorrow. But I'm leaving, I said. I thought I mentioned that the only time I had was this morning. And I thought you said that would work.
I can try again tomorrow to see if I can make it work, he told me. In the meantime, would you like to get together for a night cap at the hotel before bed?
Tell me I didn't just fall for that.
P.S. After I wrote you this, the Ferrero man called me at the hotel. He said he had tried to arrange the visit, but the marketing people had told him they were taking all journalists here for the Olympic Games on a tour of the factory one day next week.
Now I don't know what to think. Maybe I was wrong about him. All I know for sure is that I didn't get to see anybody making Nutella. And I'll have to answer to my boys for that.
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Posted by: Marg | February 14, 2006 10:06 PM