Turin – a city of art, sport and business, but also a real kingdom of sweets. Whenever I walk through the main squares and streets I can’t keep my eyes off beautifully decorated windows of confectionary shops and while drinking cappuccino in one of 19th century traditionally furnished coffee shops I can smell the atmosphere of old Torino.
In the first capital of Italy you can easily meet bars, restaurants and cafes that used to host important personalities of art, show business and politics. In a tiny coffee shop Al Bicerin, for example, established in 1763, you can still seat at the same table where Benso Camillo Cavour, the first prime minister of Italy, was usually drinking coffee while reading newspapers. Also Giacomo Puccini – a famous Italian composer – used to come there, as he lived a stone’s throw away in via S. Agostino. Not to mention about Alexander Dumas, the author of „The Three Musketeers”, who in one of his letter to his friend praised the specialty of Turin – drink called bicerin, about which I mention in my CioccolaTo’ review.
In a beautiful interiors of Bell Époque of Caffe’ Torino such personalities like Cesare Pavese, Ludovico Enaudi, Ava Gardner or Brigitte Bardot, even members of Savoy family used to relax. While Pasticceria Stratta located on the opposite side of San Carlo square attracts with its traditional wooden façade that since 1836 hasn’t changed the image and for me it looks more like a picture, a piece of art, then a simple assortment presentation. This confectionary shop used to deliver sweets for governmental receptions in times when Turin was the capital of Italy, and today it spoils palates of the most picky gourmets.
In the restaurant and coffee shop Baratti & Milano you will enjoy an elegant interior design, especially that it’s situated in a heart of beautiful Galleria Subalpina.
In Turin except traditional brands there is also place for new initiatives like Silvio Bessone and his project FIVE (more info you will find on: http://www.silviobessone.it/en/five.html ). The master chocolatier is the owner of Caffe’ Regio located in via Po’ (the opening was in December 2013) and of the chocolate factory in Santuario di Vicoforte (Cuneo area) in Piedmont.
There is a reason why Turin can boast of such great tradition of sweets production. The marriage of the first capital of Italy and the chocolate started in 1560 when Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy decided to transfer the Ducal’s capital from Chambéry to Turin. To celebrate this event the city made a toast with a cup of hot chocolate. But the real boom of food of the gods started at the beginning of 19th century. In 1826 Paul Caffarel in his factory gave birth of solid bars (before it was served only as a liquid) by mixing cocoa with vanilla, water and sugar and then, in 1865, he produced famous Gianduiotti – one of Turin sweet specialties.
Below you will a map that will help you to explorer a sweet part of the capital of Piedmont. In my opinion if you really want to understand this city and get better with its history and culture you should visit at least one mentioned bars and coffee shops and at least once taste delicious bicerin!
My favourite seet sites in Turin are:
A – Al Bicerin
B – Caffe’ Regio
C – Baratti & Milano
D – Caffe’ Torino
E – Pasticceria Stratta
F – Pasticceria Gertosio