In the charming streets of Turin, where the grandeur of historical architecture meets the aroma of artisanal creations, one can trace the tantalizing tale of a city inseparable from its love affair with chocolate. This relationship, steeped in centuries of tradition, has birthed not only a culinary legacy but also a cultural emblem.
Historical Indulgence: Turin and its Chocolate Odyssey
Turin's love affair with chocolate finds its roots in the 16th century, woven into the fabric of the city's history. Legend has it that in 1560, Emanuele Filiberto, the Duke of Savoy, celebrated the transfer of the capital from Chambéry to Turin with a ceremonial cup of hot chocolate, initiating a tradition that has endured for over four centuries.
The Savoys, Turin's ruling family, played a pivotal role in elevating chocolate to a symbol of wealth and indulgence. Chocolate became an integral part of noble feasts, marking its place not only on the tables but also in the language. Expressions like "Fare la figura del cioccolataio" or playing the role of the chocolatier" found their way into everyday conversations, echoing the city's deep-rooted connection with this sweet delicacy.
It's used figuratively to describe someone who is pretending or acting as if they are knowledgeable or skilled in making chocolate or presenting themselves as an expert in the field, even if they aren't actually experienced or qualified. Essentially, it refers to someone who is trying to appear as something they're not when it comes to chocolate-making or expertise in the craft.
Must-Try Chocolates in Turin
Gianduiotti: Undoubtedly the city's most iconic chocolate, Gianduiotti, shaped like an upturned boat, boasts a velvety blend of hazelnut paste and cocoa. Originating in Turin in the 19th century, this delicacy remains an essential taste of the city and is available in various flavors, including dark chocolate and hazelnut.
Cremino: Another jewel in Turin's chocolate crown, the Cremino showcases layers of luscious goodness. Comprising thin layers of gianduja with hazelnut paste and chocolate cream, its smooth texture and rich flavors make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Variations can include layers of different chocolates, offering a symphony of tastes in every bite.
Bicerin: While not a solid chocolate, this iconic Turinese beverage is a heavenly blend of espresso, chocolate, and creamy milk served layered in a glass. Sipping a Bicerin is akin to savoring liquid chocolate in its most exquisite form. It's an unmissable indulgence for those exploring the chocolate heritage of Turin.
Chocolates Infused with Local Flavors: Turin's chocolatiers have perfected the art of infusing their creations with local ingredients. From chocolates featuring the Piedmontese hazelnuts (Tonda Gentile delle Langhe) to those incorporating local wines like Barolo or Moscato, these artisanal blends offer a tantalizing taste of the region's essence.
Chocolate-covered Nougat: Nougat, a confection made with sugar or honey, nuts, and often candied fruit, becomes even more irresistible when coated in a rich layer of chocolate. Turin's chocolatiers have mastered this decadent treat, combining the crunch of nuts and the chewy sweetness of nougat with the smoothness of chocolate.
Chocaviar: A unique creation, Chocaviar showcases tiny beads of chocolate in varying flavors and intensities, resembling caviar. These elegant spheres burst with intense chocolate pleasure, adding a touch of sophistication to the tasting experience.
L’Alpino: This chocolate delicacy is an homage to the Alpine region. With its creamy milk chocolate exterior and a hidden core of hazelnut cream, L’Alpino embodies the essence of the mountains, offering a delightful contrast of textures and flavors.
Cri Cri: For those seeking a crunchy sensation, Cri Cri is the perfect choice. These small, bite-sized chocolates feature crispy caramelized hazelnuts coated in a layer of smooth milk chocolate, creating a delightful symphony of sweet and crunchy in each mouthful.
Diablottini “Diablotin” (Diavoletti): Translating to "little devils," these devilishly delightful chocolates pack a spicy surprise. Featuring a dark chocolate shell filled with a ganache infused with a hint of chili or other spices, Diablottini tantalize the taste buds with their unexpected yet harmonious combination of heat and chocolatey richness.
Finest Chocolate Shops and Patisseries
Established in 2002, Guido Castagna's chocolate shop swiftly gained acclaim not just within Turin but across Italy. Renowned for crafting exceptional Gianduiotti, their "Giuinot" is an absolute must-try. Alongside this signature delight, explore an array of truffles, pralines, and cream that will surely captivate your taste buds. Visit Via Maria Vittoria, 27, 10123 Torino, to savor these delectable treats.
Cioccolateria Artigianale Guido Gobino
Guido Gobino, a maestro in the world of chocolate, presents a fantasyland for chocolate enthusiasts. Delight in their exquisite offerings, from "cremino al sale" to "tourinot maximo," not forgetting the sumptuous hot chocolate and the tantalizing summer version of bicerin. Find this paradise at Via Lagrange 1, 10123, Torino.
Though a recent addition to Turin's chocolate scene, Davide Appendino has quickly secured a prominent position. Utilizing cacao beans from various corners of the globe, their creations include pralines, gianduiotti, and chocolate bars, notably the distinguished monorigine at 75%, a hallmark of Turin's chocolatier. Visit Via Cavour 13, 10123, Torino, to immerse in this magical chocolate world.
Pfatisch, founded in 1915 by the renowned Bavarian master Gustavo Pfatisch, stands as another historical gem in Turin's chocolate realm. Offering an extensive selection of chocolates and pastries, the establishment's vintage ambiance with antique furnishings and chandeliers takes visitors on a delectable journey through time. Indulge in tastings of chocolates and pastries or savor artisanal snacks under the arches at Via Paolo Sacchi, 42, 10128, Torino.
Baratti e Milano
Open since 1858, Baratti e Milano, located at Piazza Castello, 27/29, 10123, Torino, showcases elegance and tradition. This historic venue, overlooking both Piazza Castello and the beautiful Galleria Subalpina, offers a glimpse into the past while savoring delicacies like gianduiotti, cremini, and some of the city's finest hot chocolate.
Adding to the allure of Piazza San Carlo, Domori recently unveiled its inaugural store in Turin. Known for its "Made in Piemonte" chocolate, this brand introduces a rich array of offerings, from chocolate bars to Criollo Pro, catering to professional use. Experience this at Piazza San Carlo, 177, 10123, Torino.
The legacy continues at Boella&Sorrisi, born from the union of Elena Boella and Stefano Silvola. This chocolate factory, located at Via Poliziano, 54/c, Torino, boasts a rich family tradition that blends ancient recipes and Piedmontese excellence, offering an extensive range of chocolatey delights.
In conclusion, Turin's obsession with chocolate transcends mere confectionery; it's a story steeped in tradition, luxury, and irresistible flavors. Exploring the city's chocolate shops and savoring its diverse offerings is not merely a culinary delight but an immersive experience into the soul of this enchanting Italian city.