IT was my grandson Michael’s 10th birthday last week, and my daughter-in-law Lindsay and the kids used all their leftover Easter eggs to make a dream party feast for him.

Everything was made with chocolate, from the cake and the caramel shortbread to the cupcakes with chocolate icing, chocolate-covered strawberries and chocolate bark.

This week, I thought I’d let Michael and his sisters Gabriella, 13 and Elissia, 12 lead the way with their sweet recipe for chocolate bark – more about that below.

I miss them so much in lockdown – hopefully it won’t be too long until we can all be together properly again.

Mrs Conetta in her kitchen. Pic: Robert Perry

Mrs Conetta in her kitchen. Pic: Robert Perry

But all this talk of chocolate reminds me of a time Joe and I were having an amazing lunch in Alba, a town famous for its truffles, in Piedmont in Italy. Out of the window, I happened to spy a beautiful gift shop, so I said to my husband I would be back in a few minutes and popped across the road to see it.

The chocolate cake made by Mrs Conettas grandchildren.

The chocolate cake made by Mrs Conetta's grandchildren.

Chocolate icing created from leftover Easter eggs

Chocolate icing created from leftover Easter eggs

It was beautiful, and of course, I got talking to a young English woman who had married an Italian doctor, and the lady who ran the shop, and a gentleman who came in and stood beside me at the counter.

“Is this your husband?” asked the shop owner, and we both laughed and explained we did not know each other. Don’t ask me how, but the conversation turned to food, and our love of Italian food in particular. I told him I had a friend in New York who had truffles sent to him from Piedmont, and that my husband was in the restaurant business, and that he loved keeping pigs, horses and my surprise, he invited us both to his house in the village of Bosolasco the next day and I was delighted to accept.

Some of the chocolate creations by Mrs Conettas grandkids.

Some of the chocolate creations by Mrs Conetta's grandkids.

When he left the shop, the owner asked me: ‘Signora, do you know who you have been talking to?’ When I said no, she laughed and told me that it was Guiseppe Veglio, right hand man of the rich and secretive Ferrero Rocher chocolate firm, which had its HQ nearby.

Oh my goodness, I thought.

Back at the restaurant, my irate husband was wondering where on earth I had got to. But he was excited to hear about our forthcoming day trip. Next morning, we set off for Bosolasco, passing vineyards and thick forests, travelling over the river Rea. In the village, we admired the church, a small palazzo in the square, and the Hotel Bellavista. Round the corner was Giuseppe’s house, and he came out to greet us. Inside we met his maid, a lovely lady who had been with his family for more than 50 years. She came in carrying two crystal dishes full of Nutella ice cream. (Ferrero invented Nutella). It was absolutely delicious.

Tony and Lindsay with Gabriella, Elissia and Michael

Tony and Lindsay with Gabriella, Elissia and Michael

Guiseppe showed us around his smallholding, where he kept sheep, pigs and chickens – he and Joe got on like a house on fire. It was a wonderful afternoon. On leaving, Guiseppe gave me a beautiful cookery book and told me all about his parents’ hotel and restaurant. But that’s another story……

READ MORE: Fancy dining and French onion soup - recipes and nostalgia from Mrs Conetta

For now, here is my grandchildren’s chocolate recipe. Enjoy.


This is easy and so much fun to make. You can use white, milk or dark chocolate, and any topping you like, from Maltesers and mini-marshmallows to sprinkles and Smarties.

It’s perfect if you have leftover Easter eggs lying around, which is what made Gabriella, Elissia and Michael decide to have a go.


Break the chocolate into small squares and place in bowl.

Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stopping to stir a few times until it is completely melted.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper, pour the chocolate on top and smooth with a spoon.

Here comes the best part.

Add all your favourite toppings while it is still warm and then when cool, place in the fridge for around 30 minutes or so until the chocolate is set.

Then, simply break up the ‘bark’ and eat….