Before I left Chicago, my Aunt Sally told me about a coffee drink local to Torino that I had to try – a bicerin. After a quick Google search, I found out Caffé al Bicerin was actually the birthplace of the chocolate-y, coffee-y, cream-y goodness so I added it to my list of things to do.
Fun Fact: Torino is known for their chocolate, especially gianduiotto, a mixture of chocolate and hazelnuts in a curved-trapezoid shape. During Napoleon’s reign over Italy, chocolate was very expensive, but also very coveted. So to help offset the cost, they started mixing in hazelnuts, which are indigenous to Piedmont. So chocolate-hazelnut is a very common thing around here, hence the home of Nutella.
I set out one morning to find a chocolate factory, going pretty far north and over the river. When I got there, the factory was closed, despite their website indicating it was open and a sign on the door showing that I was, in fact, at their location during normal operating hours. I’ve come to realize that Italians take “hours of operation” as a loose estimation.
Still craving chocolate and still feeling a little sleepy, I realized a bicerin would be the perfect antidote. I headed over to the quaint Caffé al Bicerin and ordered the famous drink.
And it didn’t disappoint. It comes layered with a shot of espresso at the bottom, followed by hot chocolate, and finally cold milk. I was instructed to not stir it, simply drink it as is to taste the individual flavors. It was delicious!
And what a great place to enjoy my morning drink – a beautiful Italian square, almost completely to myself.
When I went to pay, the cashier was going to have to go in the back to grab more change. I politely indicated she could keep my change and I would simply purchase several pieces of gianduiotto. Isn’t it the worst when you’re forced to buy chocolate?
Thanks for the tip Aunt Sally!