Here’s a sweet memory worth recalling: Six years ago, our dear Pope Francis was presented with a chocolate version of himself.
The life-size replica of the Santo Papa by master chocolatier Mirco Della Vecchia required 1.5 tons of chocolate from Atitlan, Guatemala, to make, as well as 20 of his students from the Accademia of Maestri Cioccolatieri to assemble the delectable doppelganger in 30 days. The chocolate pope was presented to Lolo Kiko during a general audience at St. Peter’s Square in February 2014.
No word whether the sweet tooth Francis had a piece of himself, but the chocolatier Mirco was said to have donated an additional 1.5 tons of chocolate to Caritas so others can enjoy the sugary treat.
Since his election in 2013, the Holy Pontiff has been the recipient of some very interesting presents: among them, a Harley-Davidson motorbike (which was sold at a Paris auction for US$327,000, then donated to charity) and a pair of glasses whose wooden frame was sourced from a 1,600-year-old olive tree. Francis graciously receives the gifts, but the pope, who is known for his simple and frugal ways, doesn’t keep them.
Instead, these tokens of admiration and appreciation are turned over to the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Library, the Sacristy, or Treasury Museum. They are also given to the Floreria Apostolica, whose team either stores the gifts or re-gifts them. Other gifts are sold in a store where Vatican employees shop or they are raffled off as prizes during the staff’s Christmas party.