The se­cret of Pied­mon­tese choco­late is a co­coa and hazel­nut paste, a com­bi­na­tion re­sult­ing in the cre­ation of gi­andi­uotti, crem­ini, bicerin and even Nutella. Whether you bite, spread or drink it, in Turin, this ‘food of the gods’ is an in­sti­tu­tion. For th

Where Turin - - CONTENTS - BY ELENA BINDA Elena Binda Life­style Ed­i­tor Where ® Italia

The se­cret of Pied­mon­tese choco­late is a co­coa and hazel­nut paste, a com­bi­na­tion re­sult­ing in the cre­ation of gi­an­duiotti, crem­ini, bicerin and even Nutella!

Once upon a time there was a cruel king. He for­bade peo­ple to eat some­thing sweet that they loved. How­ever, two en­ter­pris­ing ar­ti­sans found a way to repli­cate this con­fec­tion which turned out to be even bet­ter than the orig­i­nal. This hap­pened mid-19th cen­tury, and the king was Napoleon I of France. His edict, known as the ‘Con­ti­nen­tal Block­ade’, pro­hib­ited all com­merce, trade and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Bri­tish Isles, se­verely lim­it­ing co­coa im­ports to Italy. It was then that two con­fec­tion­ers, named Caf­farel and Pro­chet, de­cided to try out a new paste. They used ground hazel­nuts, which grew in abun­dance in Piedmont, to stretch the lit­tle amount of co­coa avail­able, to cre­ate some­thing new: in­di­vid­u­ally wrapped choco­lates, shaped to re­sem­ble over­turned boats. To pro­mote them, they used the an­cient tra­di­tion of distribut­ing can­dies on the street dur­ing car­ni­val fes­tiv­i­ties. The tra­di­tional mask of Turin was Gian­duja, so th­ese new can­dies were called gi­an­duiotti (lit­tle gian­duja), while gian­duia be­came Turin’s fa­mous choco­late-hazel­nut spread. It was so pop­u­lar that it be­came the sig­na­ture in­gre­di­ent of Pied­mon­tese choco­late and was later ex­ported through­out the world.

The real story of the birth of the ‘gi­an­duiotto’ has le­gendary con­no­ta­tions. This sym­bolic choco­late of Turin can still be savoured in the de­li­cious, ar­ti­sanal hand-ex­truded ver­sion at var­i­ous places across the city. The choco­late-hazel­nut com­bi­na­tion has be­come so well known in Piedmont that it is used as the ba­sis for a num­ber of tra­di­tional prod­ucts. Th­ese in­clude the ‘ cremino’ (an ex­quis­ite square­shaped pra­line com­pris­ing three lay­ers of dif­fer­ent choco­late), the ‘ noc­ci­o­lato’ (a choco­late bar con­tain­ing whole roasted hazel­nuts), the ‘ bicerin’ (a mix­ture of cof­fee, choco­late and cream served lay­ered in a small rounded glass) and Nutella. This creamy spread, which has be­come a culi­nary icon world­wide, was in­vented in Piedmont, from the same mar­riage of choco­late and Piedmont hazel­nuts.


Turin has its own choco­late kings: con­tem­po­rary mas­ters who make the tra­di­tion vi­brant and cur­rent. Guido Gobino, the son of a choco­late maker who started work­ing in the busi­ness in the 50’s, is cur­rently one of the world’s best-known, award-win­ning choco­latiers. In Japan, in the pe­riod lead­ing up to Valen­tine’s Day, Gobino is of­ten

a guest of hon­our at the de­part­ment stores sell­ing his choco­late. While there, he is of­ten asked to sign hun­dreds of boxes of his lim­ited edi­tion ar­ti­sanal choco­late. His celebrity sta­tus is no sur­prise, given that, over the years, he has won nu­mer­ous awards in­clud­ing the Lon­don Academy of Choco­late’s ‘best pra­line in the world’ award, the Com­pag­nia del Cioccolato’s ‘ Tav­o­letta d’Oro’ (golden bar) award for his gian­duia bar con­tain­ing over 39% IGP-cer­ti­fied Piedmont hazel­nuts, and a bronze medal from the Academy of Choco­late for his hot choco­late. An­other big name in the choco­late in­dus­try is the Peyrano fam­ily, a ‘choco­late house’ that has de­lighted the palates of the Tori­nese, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Savoy fam­ily, since 1915. Their gi­an­duiotti are clas­sic, their ‘Grap­pino’ iconic, and their his­tory ro­man­tic. In 1962, Gior­gio Peyrano in­vited Bruna, a young girl who had caught

his fancy, to visit his work­shop. As a gift, Bruna bought him a bot­tle of grappa from her fa­ther. To thank him, and pos­si­bly to make a good im­pres­sion, the young Peyrano set to work and cre­ated a dark choco­late pra­line filled with a drop of grappa which in­stantly be­came a big hit. It is prob­a­bly the choco­latier’s most suc­cess­ful cre­ation and was the pre­cur­sor of the nu­mer­ous liqueur-filled choco­lates that con­tinue to de­light the palates of choco­late con­nois­seurs to­day. And what about Gus­tavo Pfatisch? The story of this master chef of Bavar­ian ori­gin is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to the his­tory of the city. Pfatisch was born in Piedmont in 1887 and moved to Turin, where he opened a pas­try shop which soon be­came be a land­mark des­ti­na­tion. Rem­i­nis­cent of the choco­late fac­tory of Willy Wonka (the main char­ac­ter ch in Roald Dahl’s novel ‘ Char­lie and the

Ch Choco­late Fac­tory’ and the film by Tim Bur­ton star­ring sta Johnny Depp), his beau­ti­fully pre­served his­toric his work­shop has of­ten been used as a set for Ital­ian films and TV se­ries. The list of master con­fec­tion­ers co as­so­ci­ated with the ad­dresses of an­cient, il­lus­tri­ous venues where you can savour sav authen­tic Pied­mon­tese choco­late is lengthy. len Th­ese in­clude the choco­late shop of Guido Gu Castagna, Baratti & Mi­lano, a his­toric café caf and con­fec­tioner which has over­looked pi­azza pia Castello since 1858, and Il Bicerin, an iconic lo­cale es­tab­lished in Turin in 1763 which gave birth to the city’s sig­na­ture drink (for more in­for­ma­tion see our Food&Wine sec­tion). How­ever, if you hap­pen to be vis­it­ing Turin this month, you’ll have a unique op­por­tu­nity to see the city trans­formed into one large choco­late shop!


This month Turin pays trib­ute to its age-old choco­late-mak­ing tra­di­tion with CioccolaTo 2018, an ac­tion-packed event that trans­forms the cen­tre of the city into an open-air con­fec­tioner’s work­shop. There will be more than 100 ed­u­ca­tional work­shops, con­ven­tions, per­for­mances and many other forms of en­ter­tain­ment, in­clud­ing demos by some of the finest master choco­latiers in the streets of the cen­tre, plus loads of de­li­cious ar­ti­sanal choco­late just wait­ing to be tasted, pur­chased and dis­cov­ered. Two ‘choco­late fac­to­ries’ will be set up in pi­azza San Carlo. One, named ‘bean-to­bar’, will demon­strate the choco­late pro­duc­tion cy­cle, while the sec­ond will pay trib­ute to the city of Turin with the on-site pro­duc­tion of the fa­mous Turi­nese gi­an­duiotto, from hazel­nuts to the fin­ished prod­uct. The event will also fea­ture com­pe­ti­tions be­tween chefs and celebri­ties who’ve been in­vited to sub­mit their best ideas for choco­late desserts to the judges. The fes­ti­val is open daily from 9 to 18 Novem­ber from 10am to 6pm. Ac­cess is free of charge and the event takes place in pi­azza San Carlo and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

Gian­du­jotto by Guido Gobino.

Gift box by Baratti & Mi­lano Baratti & Mi­lano

Con­fet­te­ria Pa­s­ic­ce­ria Pfatisch

The ‘ Grap­pino’ by Peyrano

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