Giada De Laurentiis Uses 1 Surprising Candy to Make Her Chocolate Tarts Pop

Aspiring foodies and amateur chefs have long turned to Food Network for cooking inspiration. With thrilling competitions and iconic celebrity hosts, it’s no wonder that the network and its hundreds of shows gather millions of viewers per episode. 

Though opportunities like Food Network Star allow regular folks to make an appearance on the big screen, most of the programs feature professional chefs hosting their own unique cooking shows. Love them or hate them, these famous faces always have a kitchen hack to offer. Longtime Food Network personality Giada De Laurentiis, for example, has a secret ingredient that ensures her chocolate tarts rock. 

Giada De Laurentiis smiling
Giada De Laurentiis | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

De Laurentiis draws inspiration from her Italian heritage

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Born into a family of movie stars and producers, it’s no wonder that De Laurentiis eventually found herself on TV. According to Biography, she lived in Italy until she was seven years old and inherited her parents’ television talents and passion for authentic cuisine. After graduating from UCLA, De Laurentiis traveled back abroad to study at Paris’ world-renowned culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu. 

Her top-notch education qualified her to work at some of the top restaurants in the United States. After getting her feet wet in the culinary industry, she branched off to start her own catering company. Food and culture magazines were soon turning to her for cooking advice, and Food Network saw her bright personality and talent through her written words. 

Her debut with the NetworkEveryday Italian, set the tone for the cuisine and culture she would bring to set. Though her Italian roots undoubtedly lend some credibility to her recipes, she has been the subject of teasing from the likes of Ellen DeGeneres for her over-pronunciation of Italian dishes. Still, while she certainly won’t let viewers forget she’s Italian, De Laurentiis is still full of many surprises. 

Her secret ingredient adds pop to her tarts

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Popsugar fittingly highlighted one of De Laurentiis’ popular dessert recipes. Dubbed chocolate “pop” tarts, the small treats feature a very special ingredient: pop rocks! The dish pays homage to childhood wonder, both through this secret addition and its punny name. With such innovations as these, it’s no wonder that De Laurentiis has found tremendous success in her line of cookbooks.

Her recipe collections have spanned so many volumes that you could use a different book for each night of the week! Between her statuses of cook, author, and restaurant owner, it’s clear that De Laurentiis wears many different (chef) hats. Though she certainly made the right choice in pursuing her culinary dreams, her road to success hasn’t been without its share of drama. 

De Laurentiis has a history of surprising taste-testers

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As the kind of chef who puts pop rocks in chocolates, it’s unsurprising that De Laurentiis’ food often takes tasters aback. Talk show hosts frequently welcome the star to promote her new books and restaurants, and De Laurentiis will often lead them in a cooking demonstration. Unfortunately, with live TV, anything can happen. 

According to Mashed, one of her many Ellen appearances included a collaborative cooking effort between De Laurentiis and Nicole Kidman. Although the finished focaccia looked delicious, Kidman ended up spitting out her bite, calling it “tough.” Matt Lauer also had to do a discreet spit-take during a De Laurentiis appearance after he failed to realize that her chicken was for display only and extremely underdone. 

Between the pop rocks and the dissatisfied samplers, one can’t help but wonder if De Laurentiis’ cooking is as good as it looks. At the very least, however, we can turn to her for the language lessons that accompany each recipe.