Sunday, July 4, 2010

Torino Tour Guide: A Visit to Caffè Cioccolateria al Bicerin

 There is a delicious beverage unique to Torino. My guess is that you have never heard of it before but you have probably tried one in the form of a mocha. It's called the Bicerin and it consists of a warm and thick dark chocolate on the bottom of a wine glass topped with a shot of espresso and that is topped with a dollop of homemade thick and heavy cream. The drink itself is not sweet until you add the sugar BUT, and this is important, make sure you do not stir your Bicerin! This is the one and only rule of drinking it which is what I learned when I walked to the cafe last week to try this hometown favorite for myself.
The cafe is situated in the small Piazza della Consolata named after the opulent baroque church that dominates the square.

Choose to sit outside at the verde painted iron tables or sit inside at the small but cozy round white marble tables and velvet bench seating. I chose inside. The baristas were sure to remind me, in both Italian and in English, of the no stir rule when setting the concoction on my table.The adjacent church bells ring every hour which make a delightful accompaniment to the warm coffee mixture.
I tasted  it first before deciding to sprinkle just a small amount of sugar on the top and then watched it slowly dissolve it's way down to the bottom.This for me is the perfect way to drink it.
The Bicerin was invented in this very cafe in 1763. It became an instant favorite with both the working and upper classes as well as being affordable costing only 3 soldi, which was 15 cents of lira. It stayed the same price until 1913 when it was raised to 20 cents. Today ordering a Bicerin will cost you 5 euros.
 The cafe is now visited each day by both locals and tourists alike all whom are served by a female barista staff. Since 1910 Caffè Bicherin has been owned and served by only women.
The cafe has other beverages to try like an array of flavored hot chocolates and of course a full menu of espressos but when you are there I recommend trying what made them famous because it's really what they do best. Sit down, take a break and enjoy the atmosphere of the cafe culture of Torino!

Caffè Cioccolateria al Bicerin
Piazza della Consolata, 5
10122 Torino


Mary and Sean said...

Such a great blog! Love it and looking forward to reading about Italy. I'm in Japan myself, so I'm missing stories about Europe!

Babs said...

Greetings from Amman! OMG i love Italy - have never been to Torino - just drove through it once - so am looking forward reading about it in your blog! I could do with a Bicerin - sounds delicious! coffee here is yerk!

shari said...

YUM! i live in northwest washington where we take our coffee seriously. and this looks seriously heavenly!!!