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The sweet side of Torino

By March 22, 2023No Comments

Bordered by France and Switzerland, Piemonte (Piedmont) is the birthplace of Slow Food. The region’s capital, Torino (Turin), exudes charm, elegance, and culture, yet it is often overlooked by tourists. Italy’s first capital in 1861, home to the royal House of Savoy, and the headquarters of FIAT, boasts outstanding Italian cafes, expansive boulevards and Baroque and Neo-classic masterpieces. Another unique characteristic of Torino is its sweet scene.

sweet torino

Chocolate in the form of bars and bite-size pieces, gianduia and gianduiotti were invented here. Gianduia, a silky blend of chocolate and hazelnuts, is shaped into triangular forms and wrapped in gold. These are called gianduiotti.

Chocolate and coffee appear together in liquid and solid variations, a superb companion to Piedmontese dolci. Bignole (cream puffs), torta di nocciole (hazelnut cake), baci di dama aka Lady’s kisses (bite-sized hazelnut cookies with chocolate filling) and amaretti (Italian almond macaroons) are artfully arranged in shop windows, beckoning to passersby. 

sweet torino

Strolling through the city center, under large porticos and along the Po riverbank, you can’t help but be struck by its Parisian feel. An endless number of bakeries, sweet shops and coffee bars border the cobblestone streets. Not far from the central train station are some of the best venues to indulge in Turin’s culinary treasures. What better way to spend a day or two than tasting your way from historic bar to confetteria emersing yourself in la dolce vita like the Torinesi do.

Bakeries and Sweet Shops to Visit in Torino

Guido Gobino – Via Lagrange, 1A

Guido Gobino is the DOC of Turin chocolates. This stylish boutique was renovated in 2003. Warm wood accents, sleek packaging and a chic staff greet you with a smile. In the know Torinesi nip in for luscious artisan chocolate and specialty coffee. Top ingredients like Tonda Gentile delle Langhe hazelnuts of Protected Geographical Indication, a selection of the best cocoa, milk, and cocoa butter result in the most creamy and nutty gianduiotti to be devoured in Turin. Try its cleverly created cousins; smaller in size, the 5 gram Giandujottino Torinot and Giandujottino Torinot Maximo are the perfect portion of bright sweetness. Call ahead for a private degustazione di cioccolato (chocolate tasting) in the tasting room, an unrivaled experience. 

sweet torino - gobino

Baratti & Milano – Piazza Castello, 27

Founded in 1858 in the heart of Turin, this caffè-pasticceria, is opulent and majestic. Attentive waiters tend to a clientele that includes tastefully dressed shoppers, nearby university students, and visitors, all sipping espressos and snacking on freshly made petit fours. Cestini di frutta, miniature baskets of buttery pastry cradle cream and come topped with bright berries: a veritable fruit explosion. 

sweet torino

Stratta – Piazza San Carlo, 191

Situated on the renowned Piazza San Carlo, Confetteria Stratta first opened its doors in 1836. Alluring shop windows showcase pastries, chocolates and marrons glacés adorned with candied violet flowers. Bon bons of exotic flavors made Stratta a coveted supplier of the Royal Family and one of Turin’s highly valued artisan sweet shops. Rows of pastel colored grani speziati (spice infused sugar droplets) and petal-shaped disks fill shiny glass cases. Unexpected hints of rosemary, fennel, and lavender melt on your tongue leaving a syrupy coating. Stratta’s homemade gelées pack a powerful burst of strawberries, apricots and pears. Stop by the recently added coffee bar which is a hit with sophisticated locals. Businessmen in crisp-tailored suits and classically dressed women partake in morning cappuccinos and an afternoon marocchino (espresso with a dash of hot milk and cacao powder). The bitter arabica Ethiopian coffee blend is a wonderful complement to the decadent desserts.

sweet torino

Pasticceria Ghigo – Via Po, 52

Nearby Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Pasticceria Ghigo was founded in 1870 as a milk and cheese shop. It wasn’t long before these dairy masters developed their sought after panna (whipped cream) and added pastries to the list of gourmet delights. Longstanding customers queue for hot chocolate and coffee drinks topped with a dollop of velvety goodness. Pull up a seat at an outdoor table under the wide arching porticos of Via Po and nosh on chocolate stuffed zeppole (miniature doughnuts)chantilly cream pastries and tiny airy bignole (cream puffs). 

A. Giordano Torino – Piazza Carlo Felice, 69

Winner of the 2011-12 “Maestro del Gusto” (master of taste) award, A. Giordano Torino has been producing chocolates since 1897. Conceived by the Turin Chamber of Commerce with Slow Food, each winner is evaluated on taste and authenticity. 

sweet torino marocchino

Every child’s fantasy, this charming antique candy store is enriched with mirrored walls, brown and white marble countertops and a glass chandelier. Bubbly shop assistants await you at the register. Glass canisters overflow with shiny gold parcels. Trays of traditional Torinese sweets at eye level beg to be tasted on the spot. Smooth and buttery hand-cut gianduiotti artigianale cling to foil casing sticking to fingertips before you can pop one in your mouth. Crema alla nocciola (hazelnut spread) has the unique taste of toasted Piedmont hazelnuts mixed with raw sugar. Drizzled on toast or eaten by the spoonful, this melted concoction is the ultimate sweet treat. Cremini al caffè, luscious gianduia paste dipped in white chocolate and garnished with a candy coffee bean are an luxurious surprise. Buy a bag of cremini to nibble on while walking around the impressive piazzas and grandiose walkways. 

sweet torino

Caffè al Bicerin – Piazza della Consolata, 5

Not to be missed, this ancient caffè has been in continuous operation since 1763. Tucked away on a romantic piazza, enter the warm intimate “Caffè al Bicerin” and be transported back in time. Nietzsche and Cavour are counted amongst its memorable regular clients who spent many afternoons drinking the popular Torinese beverage for which this locale is named. The bicerin, a traditional hot potion made of espresso, hot chocolate and light cream, is robust and satisfying. Order a slice of torta di nocciola (hazelnut cake) to enjoy beside this decadent drink. 

Venchi – Via Nizza, 2

Silvano Venchi opened his first confectionary outlet in 1878 in Turin. Modern décor and an array of chocolate treats stock shop shelves. From the classic gianduiotti to dark chocolate covered candied berries, this is a chocolate lovers paradise. Savor the smooth, comforting, hot gianduia served in shot sized glasses at the counter. 

Photo by Marco Corongi, 2005 ©Politecnico di Torino

Roma Già Talmone – Piazza Carlo Felice, 36

This warm and cheerful historcal caffè like many others started as a chocolate producer. Pastries and tramezzini (finger sandwiches) are served at old fashioned counters. The cakes are unmissable, perched on round transparent tiered pedestals. Giandiotto and pistachio are only a few among many specialties. Made to order or served by the slice, moist and golden cream chantilly cake is garnished with fresh berries and ribbons of dark chocolate. Pull up a chair and delight in a piece of heaven. 

Come visit Torino with us! Contact us for our list of sweet and savory experiences.

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