Founded by Isidoro Odin, a transplant from Alba (in Italy’s chocolate epicenter, Piedmont), the first branch of the company opened in the tony Chiaia district at the end of the 19th century but soon spread to other areas of the city. Me and Fiorella ended up at the shop located in the heart of Spaccanapoli, literally drooling over the luscious display of pralines and other delicacies. Fiorella insisted that I try the “foresta“, a Gay-Odin creation that is a flaky bar of rich chocolate that resembles rough and twisty tree bark (very similar to the British Cadbury Flake bar). The assortment of other chocolate shapes and variations include tarallini, donut-shaped and filled with Strega liquer, noci, walnut shaped and enclosed in a wafer-like casing and ostriche, oyster-shaped and filled with a cream mousse. During the holidays, Neapolitan families stock up on boxes of Gay-Odin goodness to distribute to friends and relatives and in the summer, gelato flavors based on their chocolate concoctions take center stage. Though the “foresta” was quite delectable, I like the Vesuvius the best. Imagine a solid block of chocolate in the shape of the Mt. Vesuvius volcano, sometimes taking on mammoth proportions- now that’s a real pick me up!