Maybe it’s the several chocolate shops embellishing the city or maybe is the festival that gathers chocolate artisans in the city centre every November, but the long-lasting tradition that links Turin with chocolate is crystal-clear the more you discover about the city. Here are just 5 of the many reasons why it can be regarded as the city of chocolate.
1. The House of Savoy and its obsession with chocolate.
The Dukes of Savoy ruled in Piedmont for centuries and they were famous for their love for chocolate. When in 1560 they moved the capital of their reign from Chambéry to Turin, they celebrate the event offering the city a cup of hot chocolate. From the XVII century, then, Turin aristocracy used to have the so called “Merenda Reale”, that was a snack between meals consisting in a cup of hot chocolate with “bagnati”, a series of home-made biscuits. Thus, it comes as no surprise that soon the city became the main productor of chocolate in the whole European continent. By the end of XVII century the House of Savoy was not the only one enjoying chocolate: for the first time in Europe hot chocolate started to be served in the public cafés of the city.
2. The first chocolates of the world were invented in Turin!
Until the XIX century chocolate was only drunk, not eaten. Well, guess in which city the first chocolates were born: Turin, of course! They are called “diablutìn”, that means “little devil” in Piedmontese. In 1865 the chocolatier of the Caffarel company Michele Prochet mixed chocolate and hazelnuts from Langhe, making gianduja for the first time. It was just a matter of time before the first gianduiotto was born. To publicize the new chocolates, Caffarel distributed them during the Carnival dressed as Gianduja, the traditional character of Turin: that’s where the name of gianduiotti came from.
3. The bicerin: a delicious chocolate drink.
It is a typical hot drink made by coffee, chocolate and milk, invented in Turin at the beginning of the XVIII century at Caffè Al Bicerin. It became so popular that it took the place of the classic hot chocolate in the Merenda Reale. When you walk in the city centre in autumn or winter, to stop for a bicerin can certainly bright up the day!
It is the festival of chocolate of Turin usually organised in November. The city centre fills up with stands of the best chocolate artisans, who can show their new creations and let people taste their products. Furthermore, many events and shows are held around the city. In short, CioccolaTò is an opportunity for national and international companies or artisans to meet and exchange views.
5. The major Italian centre of the chocolate production.
If the city was one of the European capitals of chocolate in the past centuries, today it still has a key role. Nowadays, Turin and its district are the major centre of production of chocolate in Italy: the 40% of it is made here! Besides of the big companies famous even abroad such as Ferrero or Caffarel, there are chocolate artisans like Guido Gobino who are essential to keep this tradition alive.
Articolo a cura di: Laura Tondolo