March 14, 2014 5:52 pm

Five of the best: Turin cafés

From the creamiest gelato to the most exquisite pastries the Piedmont capital is a dessert-devotee’s haven
Bicerin

Bicerin

Baratti e Milano

This elegant café-restaurant near the opera is famous for its giandujotto chocolates. Invented in 1867, they combine Piedmontese hazelnut paste, South American cocoa powder and African cocoa butter. Here they come wrapped in gold foil and also appear in gelato and pastries. There are excellent wines and cocktails; Brachetto d’Acqui is that rare red wine that pairs beautifully with chocolate.

Piazza Castello 29, +39 011 511481; barattiemilano.it

Bicerin

Open since 1763, Turin’s oldest café is where people come to savour its namesake beverage. A bicerin mixes hot coffee and chocolate with cool cream and is to be lingered over, as Puccini did while composing Manon Lescaut here. Torta di nocciole, a cake made with Piedmont’s sublime hazelnuts, is served with a cup of hot chocolate. Eggy zabaione is made to order and you can choose the spirit it will be flavoured with, including Marsala, Moscato and Ratafià.

Piazza della Consolata 5, +39 011 4369325; bicerin.it

Neuv Caval’ d Brôns

Coffee here can be accompanied by superb pastries, chocolates, gelato or yeasty brioches. Don’t miss the pasticceria mignon, or tiny pastries; each provides an inspired burst of flavour. The gelato may be the richest in Italy: the nocciola overflows with buttery Piedmontese hazelnuts. In fine weather, outdoor tables offer a view of the bronze equestrian statue for which the café is named.

Piazza San Carlo 157, +39 011 545354; cavallodibronzo.it

Pfatisch

For many Torinesi, this establishment near the main railway station is the best in town. Everything is made in-house: 40 types of chocolate, cakes, rolls and veneziane pastries made with chocolate drops and either pear or apricot. Two classic biscotti are the savoiardi (named for Turin’s House of Savoy when it was Italy’s capital) and soft amaretti, made with the best ground almonds. The spreadable gianduja is the perfect take-home item.

Via Sacchi 42, +39 011 503154; pfatisch.com

Stratta

This historic shop with a few tables is a destination for chocolate lovers interested in two specialities. Giandujotto come with sugar (in gold foil) or without (silver foil). Bonbons are tiny pearls and jellies made with fresh fruit or flowers. The panettone has gianduja chocolate, sultanas and coffee.

 

Piazza San Carlo 191, +39 011 547920; stratta1836.it

‘Italy for the Gourmet Traveller’ by Fred Plotkin is published by Kyle Books (£16.99). The author presents ‘Insights: Pleasure and Inspiration’ about food’s role in operatic works and composers’ lives at the Royal Opera House, March 28; roh.org.uk

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