Ten in the morning. Torino centre. Piazza della Consolata to be exact. Uninterrupted rain and a shocking temperature of 5° Celsius. We’re looking at the entrance of Caffe al Bicerin. Inside is chock-full. My brother queued whilst we shopped next door: gianduiotti, baci di dama, hazelnuts, crema di gianduia. A table emptied and we staggered in, compressed ourselves like sardines in a tight corner of this narrow 18th Century cafe and waited to be served.
Wood-paneled walls, graced up with mirrors, and white marble-top tables. At the back, a solid, upstanding counter with an array of colorful jars filled with sweets. Vintage boxes of biscuits stacked to decorate. To the side a display of freshly baked croissants, brioches, biscuits and torte. We ordered the famous Bicerin – a drink originally known as Bavereisa but changed its name when it started to be served in a stemmed glass with a metal base and a handle known as bicerin. A delectable drink made from three gratifying layers of thick, melted chocolate, an espresso shot and fresh cream. As you take your first sip, the cold fresh cream meets your lips then the hot chocolate follows and its a burst of sensation as the aromatic coffee invades your mouth. Simply unique.
The bicerin is a delight from historical times and thankfully the owners of Caffe al Bicerin are keen to preserve this tradition. And, once you are there, taste their assortment of home-made biscuits. And, if you go again, try the zabaione instead or as well. You need to wait a bit, it’s made there and then by their gifted hands and high quality ingredients.