Chocolate in Turin is more than just something you enjoy devouring. It is a symbol – of royalty, excellence, innovation, tradition, passion, and so much more.
It’s not for nothing that Turin is the Italian capital of chocolate (and an underrated city everyone should take the time to explore), so if you’re eager to uncover what it has to offer in the sweet department, here’s everything you need to know.
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Planning a last-minute trip and looking for the top accommodations in Turin? Check out:
– Attic Hostel Torino (budget, in the historic center)
– Savoia Suites Torino (mid-range, in the historic center)
– Liberty Hotel (mid-range, in a quiet neighborhood 10-minutes from the historic center)
– Corte Realdi Luxury Rooms Torino (luxury, in the historic center).
HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE IN TURIN, ITALY
Chocolate was first brought to Spain after the discovery of the Americas, but through the royal connections between Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, and Austria (to name a few), it didn’t take long until it was known all across Europe.
But at first, chocolate was only consumed as a beverage.
Most versions of the story agree that the first person to introduce chocolate to Italy was Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, in 1560.
To celebrate the new capital city of the Duchy of Savoy, Turin, the Duke decided to serve a cup of hot chocolate to the entire city, and so the obsession began.
It was more than a century later, in 1678, that Turin got its official license to produce chocolate. That’s when the first chocolate house was opened by Giò Antonio Battista Ari.
Soon, Turin became a force to be reckoned with in the growing chocolate industry, and, in fact, it was the world’s first producer of solid chocolate.
As if hot chocolate wasn’t yummy enough, Turin also invented a drink called Bicerin, made of chocolate, coffee, and milk, which is still popular today, and for a good reason (it’s sooo delicious!).
During Napoleon’s regency at the beginning of the 19th century, cocoa supplies weren’t as available, so to make the most of it, hazelnuts from the region (Piedmont) were added to the mixture. That’s how the Gianduja spread was born, named after a carnival mask representing Turin and Piedmont.
A few decades later, in 1865, the manufacturer Caffarel invented the chocolate-hazelnut treat, the gianduiotto (today, it is one of Turin’s biggest symbols, and it’ll surely become your new best friend).
I can go on and on, but let’s finish off with the birth of Nutella, the legendary chocolate-hazelnut spread invented by Pietro Ferrero in 1946.
With 40% of the country’s chocolate production, Turin and Piedmont are still the Italian chocolate masters. And until this day, most if not all chocolate brands in Turin only use Piedmontese hazelnuts, as well as high-quality cocoa and other ingredients.
CHOCOLATES IN TURIN: WHAT TO TRY AND BUY
Beyond the “usual” pralines and chocolate bars, here are some local specialties your taste buds will love (get ready for a waterfall of chocolate & hazelnut treats).
Are you one of those people who dance when they eat something delicious? Because I totally am. And one bite of a gianduiotto is enough to make you shimmy.
Following the birth of the gianduja spread/paste, the brand Caffarel invented the boat-shaped chocolate-hazelnut treat, gianduiotto (gianduiotti in plural), in 1865.
Its creaminess and rich taste will make it your new addiction, and to make it even more irresistible, it is individually wrapped, looking like a little gold bar.
Today, many chocolate manufacturers produce it, and it’s also known as the number one must-try chocolate in the city, so it’s literally impossible not to come across this piece of heaven when visiting Turin.
NOCCIOLATO FONDENTE, LATTE, OR BIANCO
As you enter the best chocolate shops in Turin, you’ll almost always be greeted with huge bars of dark (fondete), milk (latte), and white (bianco) chocolate containing whole roasted hazelnuts. These are called Nocciolato/Nocciolati (singular/plural), and you buy them by weight.
What happens when you take a hazelnut or almond paste and add two outer layers of gianduja? You get the world’s creamiest, yummiest edible cube.
The original cremino (cremini in plural) was created by Baratti & Milano (an iconic brand that still exists today).
Later, it was reinvented by an Italian chocolate maker called Majani, who made it with four layers and won a chocolate contest held by Fiat to celebrate the launch of its new car in 1911.
This festive-looking treat contains a hazelnut covered in chocolate covered in tiny sugar pearls, but beyond its unique candy-like look, it also has a name that makes you wonder about its origins.
Well, every good old Italian legend starts with a love story, and this one involves a student from Turin and his girlfriend, Cristina (Cri in short), a tailor of the high society ladies.
Every time they met, he would buy her these chocolates, which were her favorites.
The shop owner and his assistant got used to seeing the boy, so every time he came to the shop, they asked him “Cri?” and he answered “Cri”, and so the name Cri Cri was born.
You can buy Cri Cri online on Eataly.
You cannot visit Turin and not have a cup of bicerin, the perfect mix of hot chocolate and coffee. Made with chocolate, coffee, and milk, it’s one of the city’s staple drinks, served at every cafe.
TRIS DI NOCCIOLE
If you need a bit more sugar and cocoa in your body, these clusters of three hazelnuts covered in chocolate will get the job done.
OTHER THINGS TO TRY/BUY
You should also try some chocolate truffles and Baci di Dama cookies, buy a gianduja spread, and indulge in a cup of decadent Piedmontese hot chocolate.
BEST CHOCOLATE IN TURIN: MUST-VISIT SHOPS
As the chocolate manufacturer that invented the gianduiotto (back in 1865), Caffarel is the first shop you need to check out in Turin. It’s not very big, but it’s enough to make you feel excited like a little kid.
You can also have coffee, hot chocolate, bicerin, and even gelato, so prepare yourself for the sweetest experience.
Want to try Caffarel’s chocolates right now? Buy them online on Amazon.
Guido Gobino is an award-winning chocolatier known for his exquisite chocolates made using high-quality ingredients.
From classic flavors to unique creations like cremino with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, this brand’s chocolates are a force to be reckoned with.
If a simple visit is not enough for you, you can even book a tasting at his shop on Via Lagrange or his factory. You can also buy Guido’s products online (ships to Europe) or get his gianduiotti on Amazon.
What started in the 19th century at a young man’s apartment in Turin resulted in a chocolate brand with shops all across Italy.
Venchi’s most famous invention is the Nougatine, chocolate filled with caramel and chopped Piedmontese hazelnuts, but you’ll find so many other types of chocolates there that it’ll be impossible to choose which ones to buy.
You can also purchase their products online on the official website (they ship to Europe, the US, Japan, and Singapore) or on Amazon.
A confectionery store turned into a chocolate manufacturer, Peyrano was born in 1915 and soon became an official ‘Supplier to the Royal House of Savoy.’
Its shop in Turin is situated on the eastern side of the Po river, and you can also buy its products online (they ship to Europe, the US, and a few other countries).
Overlooking Piazza San Carlo (one of the prettiest squares in Italy), Stratta is a brand born in 1836. It sells chocolates, traditional Italian cakes, pastries, candies, and even coffee, and its display window is always beautifully decorated, inviting you to step inside.
Another chocolate master in Turin I must mention is Guido Castagna. Inspired by the gianduiotto, he created an award-winning new version of it, called Giuinott, that you have to try.
The perfect combo between a chocolate shop, confectionery shop, a pastry shop, and a cafe, Pfatisch is another well-known 1915 brand (that was also a chocolate supplier of the Italian royal family).
It’s one of those places that pride themselves on being historic and traditional, so it has to be on your Turin bucket list.
BARATTI & MILANO
With a history of more than 150 years, including creating the original cremino and being the royal chocolatier of the House of Savoy, Baratti & Milano is an iconic name.
It’s also a confectionery manufacturer and a historic cafe in Turin with regal decor located in the beautiful arcade Galleria Subalpina, so there are more than enough reasons to check it out.
Not too far from Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, you’ll find A.Giordano, a 19th-century brand known for its handmade chocolates.
Apart from the must-tries I’ve mentioned above, they also make Giacomette (another type of chocolate hazelnut sweet treat), Alpinluce (wine-filled chocolate), spreads, bars, and more.
Though La Perla is a relatively young company (only 30 years old), that doesn’t away from the quality of its products.
It’s especially known for its chocolate truffles with their unique flavors, but the shop has plenty more to offer to those with a constant sweet tooth.
You can also buy their products online (they ship to Europe and the US).
Read more about Turin and northern Italy:
- Reasons to visit Turin
- Things to do in Turin
- Turin travel tips
- Where to stay in Turin
- Turin in winter
- Things to do in Vicenza
- Northern Italy road trip
- Chocolate is one of the reasons why Turin would be an amazing girls’ trip destination!
OTHER TURIN CHOCOLATE EXPERIENCES
TRY BICERIN AT CAFFE AL BICERIN
Established in 1763, Caffe Al Bicerin is the place that invented Turin’s famous drink – the Bicerin. While savoring a cup of the delicious chocolate coffee will not be so cheap here, I still recommend it as this is where it all started.
You can also have Bicerin in almost every other cafe in Turin, from historical ones to modern ones.
Good to know: Caffe Al Bicerin also sells its own chocolates, including gianduiotto, chocolate bars, and even chocolate liqueurs.
TAKE A CHOCOLATE TOUR IN TURIN
You can easily create a route for a self-guided chocolate walking tour, but if you want to get to know this side of Turin with a guide, consider booking tours like this highly-rated chocolate and sweets tour or this 3-hour chocolate tasting tour.
TRY A GIANDUIOTTO DESSERT AT FARMACIA DEL CAMBIO
Adjacent to the historic and iconic Del Cambio restaurant, you’ll find Farmacia del Cambio, a 19th-century pharmacy turned into a modern bistro/cafe/bakery.
Inspired by the gianduiotto, it created a patisserie-style dessert that looks just like it. It even has a small chocolate decoration shaped like Turin’s most famous building – the Mole Antonelliana – so when I saw it on Instagram, I knew I had to try it.
While the original gianduiotto is decadent, this dessert is very light and goes perfectly with a cup of coffee.
ATTEND THE CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL IN TURIN
This one is still on my bucket list, but I have to mention Turin’s chocolate festival, CioccolaTò, which takes place each October-November.
With countless stands by some of the best and most famous Italian chocolate brands taking over the historic center, workshops, and other events, this festival sounds like a must-have on a chocoholic’s bucket list.
Read more about Italy:
- Best Italian road trips
- Italy travel quotes
- Romantic novels set in Italy
- Gifts for Italy lovers
- Italy in winter
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