South Orangetown Central School District

This week, students in South Orangetown Middle School’s Italian Club tuned in for a virtual lesson with the Italian chocolate company Baratti and Milano, gaining insight into the production of the company’s products and its ties to Italian history, culture, and European royalty.

Established as the chocolate of the Royal House of Savoy originating in 1858, students learned about how Baratti and Milano’s Cremino chocolate is made, imported and distributed. The chocolate was first produced in an Italian coffee bar before its founders established themselves as the chocolate makers to the Italian Royal family. Currently, the chocolate is made in large pieces on a factory conveyor belt which are then divided into smaller pieces for packaging. Additionally, students learned about how the chocolate is imported to America through an American-based company — available for purchase in stores across the United States. Following the virtual call, the club headed outside to taste test samples sent by the company.

“This opportunity really allowed the students to further explore Italian history and culture — tying into the food chapter in Italian 8 as well as aligning with the main goals of the Italian Club,” explained Italian Club Advisor and World Language teacher Christina Nilson.

The SOMS Italian Club aims to foster an understanding and appreciation of the Italian language and culture. Students have the opportunity to make authentic Italian foods, celebrate holidays and participate in events. In addition, the club encourages students to take part in a variety of fun and rewarding activities.

“Getting to learn about the process behind how Baratti and Milano’s chocolate is made was really interesting,” said eighth-grade club member Luca S. “I learned that the cacao beans undergo fermentation as part of the production process which is something I didn’t know about and couldn’t wait to share with my friends. The Italian Club has lots of different activities and opportunities — like this one — which is why I like it so much. There’s always room for new conversations, to meet new friends and learn things I didn’t know before.”

Italian Club Zoom call