Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Turin – Piedmont’s sweet spot

As far as claims to fame go, Turin, capital of the Piedmont region has plenty to choose from. Internationally, the notorious Turin Shroud may be the first thought of some, but closer to home, the thing that often comes to mind when the name Turin is mentioned is chocolate. 

The city has been home to some of Europe’s finest chocolatiers for centuries – and they’ve prospered, even inventing a special kind of hot chocolate here in the 18th century. Bicerin, as it’s known, is a decadent drink made from drinking chocolate, whole milk and a shot of espresso, giving you a double hit of caffeine and cocoa.
Bicerin is just one of the creations Italy has Turin to thank for. Even more famously, some of the world’s first chocolate bars came from Turin, when in 1778 an Italian inventor named Doret devised a machine that mixed cocoa butter, vanilla and sugar, creating a solid bar. In 1865, when the price of cocoa soared, creative Turin chocolatiers began adding crushed hazelnuts to their mix and praline was born.

Today, some 40% of Italy’s total chocolate supply comes from Turin, with international brands like Ferrero, Caffarel and Streglio based there. While the methods of creating chocolate may have changed over the years, the expertise and craftsmanship used to make it are skills handed down through generations.