Lacta is to Greece, what Cadbury is to Australia. It is the best-selling chocolate that lights up kids’ eyes with its creamy milk chocolate taste, and thin and crisp texture. These days, there are many different flavours of Lacta, including Oreo, hazelnut and even strawberry yoghurt. A strong marketing campaign has made this the ‘chocolate of love’ and there have been sponsored films of love stories featuring the chocolate bar. Created in the 1960s by the Pavlidis confectionery group that was founded in 1841, the company was sold to Kraft Foods Inc and was renamed Mondelez International.
Created in 1927, Ion is a strong contender to Lacta chocolates with Ion Amygdalou (Almond) being its most signature bar. Apart from chocolates, the Ion factory at Neo Faliro, Piraeus, also produces other products such as croissants and chocolate spreads. The company is one of the 50 largest groups in Greece with annual sales worth over €100 million. Kraft Jacobs Sushard acquired a 24.5 per cent stake of its holdings in 1988, and these were bought back by the main shareholders in 1998.
A favourite chocolate wafer treat, Ion’s Sokofreta is an affordable little treat for kids and adults alike.
The Milky Way of Greek treats, but prepare to get your hands all sticky with this chewy strawberry marshmallow sweet covered in a thin layer of chocolate. Each bar is a mere 27.5 gram, which means that one kiss is never enough.
These classic Pavlidis chocolates are the stuff we remember from visits to our aunts and grandparents. A little arty bite of creamy heaven with a hazelnut in the middle wrapped in gold with Da Vinci’s enigmatic Mona Lisa on the outside. As kids, we’d grab one or two and then play with the wrappings and learn a thing or two about art.
Ion confectioner’s response to Pavlidis’ Gioconda were the Niosetta chocolates, another product of Greece that makes the perfect gift. These green-wrapped silky bits of chocolate with whole hazelnut in their centre would be offered to visitors, oftentimes in a bowl with Gioconda chocolates
These green-wrapped silky bits of chocolate with a whole hazelnut in their centre would be mixed in with Gioconda chocolates in a bowl and it would be hard to pick one or the other so we’d just take two or three or more.
Serenata chocolate is light, sweet and creamy and is the ideal accompaniment to both hot and cold beverages. It is the umbrella brand for various grab-and-go cream-filled candy and dessert items in Greece with the most popular being the wafer.
8. Pavlidis Igias
The first chocolate in Greece was a cocoa drink offered by Pavlidis in 1852 and was considered a luxury item. People would flock to the corner of Vissis and Aiolou street in Athens to enjoy the drink along with other traditional sweets, such as baklava, loukoumia and kadaifi, and chocolate was still unknown to the locals. A trip to Paris in Christmas, 1860, inspired the creation of the thin black Tsokolata Ygias Pavlidou which you can find at Greek kiosks today in blue wrapping.
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Ion’s Break milk chocolate appeared at kiosks as a new item in recent years and comes in many different flavours. A compact size fits in any bag and there’s definitely a taste for everyone from the green hazelnut to the pink packet with the currents or the yellow packet with the white chocolate.
10. Ion Mastic Chocolate
These days you can chew mastic as a gum and enjoy the aromatic resin cultivated on the Greek island of Chios, or you can drink it or even have it in chocolate as anybody who has recently been to Greece can vouch.