Made Famous by Soldiers

Italy is just as famous for its sweet tooth as it is for its other gastronomic specialties, and one of the hidden gems in this crown is surprisingly chewing gum. The history of this new addition to the pantheon of Italian sweets is relatively recent when compared to other unique products such as confetti or liquorice, and is traceable to the end of the Second World War with the arrival of American troops and their famous gomme americane.

Over the course of the following decades the novelty of chewing gum took off, conquering the palates and habits of Italians eager for symbols of the cultural and economic shift that was occurring. Soon the unrivalled Italian talent for food was being applied to this product, creating authentic Italian gum. It is a little known fact that Italy is home to the world’s third largest chewing gum producer, family owned Perfetti Van Melle, which distributes its brands all over the globe.

The company’s first success did not lose any of the affinity with the original inspiration provided by the products from the United States with its Brooklyn brand featuring the unmistakable bridge in its logo. Who knows if one day an Italian city will feature a gum wall like that found in Seattle, Washington, as one of its tourist attractions? (photos by Julie Rimmington)