See Naples, Eat Chocolate, and Die

What few people know Naples is famous for

The the names Gay and Odin seem more like a Broadway songwriting duo than a neapolitan culinary landmark, but within sight of Vesuvius the names are linked to some of the best chocolate you can find anywhere.
Chocolate Gelato in the Spaccanapoli
The first Gay – Odin shop I came upon is located around the corner form the Santa Chiara monastery along the Spaccanapoli, the historic street that slices the old part of this city in two. Gay – Odin has been renewing the art of chocolate making every day since. This year during the All Saints Holiday (the day after Halloween) Silvia, Sofia and Emily had come to Naples to explore with me and we had ventured off to the historical center to see if the creche markets around San Gregorio Armeno were already in full bloom. (They were.)

My mind was on getting to Scaturchio for coffee and a treat. We just had a nice lunch of Pasta alla Genovese (which in Naples is an onion sauce, not sweet basil) and I need both an espresso for the caffeine and maybe pastry (the usual baba or sfogliattella conundrum). We were almost there when Silvia and Emily made a detour, diving headfirst into the crowded little corner store.

They had found Gay – Odin.

The little shop, like many of Naples’s better chocolatiers or pastry shops is a feast for the eyes – from the art-deco sign and bars of chocolate with wrappers that reproduce their historic designs from the first half of the last century. Every little detail to remind you that this chocolate has been making mouths water in Naples for over 90 years.

Despite the autumn chill and pre-storm wind, most of the crowd was pressed up against the glass curve of the ice cream counter, and Silvia and Emily were in the thick of it (Sofia and I were waiting like sly hyenas out front. I was able to talk Silvia out of some of hers – an indescribable good dark chocolate and orange and dark chocolate and rum. Emily even let her older sister try some of hers – in part out of love, in part because she had also bought herself a handmade boero.

A boero is a dark chocolate ball around a chocolate mouse and liquid rum core. It is strongly suggested that you pop the whole thing in your mouth and don’t talk to anyone until it’s melted away or your risk dripping all over you shirt.

And as we pushed down the darkening street towards my espresso and San Gregorio Armeno’s manger statues, that is exactly what Emily did.

For those of you reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, it was first published on

The Gay – Odin shop we visited in Via Benedetto Croce 61, Naples (Italian only):

Semisweet Chocolate on Foodista

Gelato on FoodistaGelato

6 responses to “See Naples, Eat Chocolate, and Die

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention See Naples, Eat Chocolate, and Die | Carbonara's Weblog --

  2. Hha! I dont know if I should be feeling bad or laugh. I stained so many clothes over the years due to my irrepressible gourmandise, it is a familiar occurrence; anyway I need to check out Naples it sounds like, the chocolate scene over there sounds like it can rival Beirut’s!

  3. The whole Context Naples team is obsessed with Gay Odin – their amazing ice cream in the summer and the foresta and Vesuvio (with the delicious filling) in the winter. In fact, we wrote a blog post yesterday about the show at Duca di Martina about drinking chocolate- obviously followed by a visit to Gay Odin!!

    • Very intersting, I didn’t know about you. Did the trip to Gay Odin take them to one of the stores or to the factory in the same structure that has the Teatro Delle Palme Theatre?

  4. Wow, if I ever go to Naples I’ll have to try a boero. I’ve never heard of it, but I’m drooling just reading your description!

    • I boeri are one of the more common artisianl chocolates in Italy, many different cities have chocolatiers that make good ones. I don’t know their origin, but since they are particularly common and famous in Turin and the rest of Piedmont, where they held the winter Olympics a few years back.
      But in Naples Gay & Odin probably make the best. But look out for them all over the Boot.

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