Founded in 1763 in the heart of the old town of Turin, the Bicerin Café (bicerin means “little glass” in Piedmonte dialect), the locale started as a dark place furnished simply with wooden tables and benches. The founder, Mr. Dentis was at the time serving mysterious and exotic goods: coffee, tea, chocolate… peculiar words, new flavors and surprising smells still unknown in the somnolent capital of the Duchy of Savoy.
In the XIX century, there were many reasons for the success of the locale (the renovation of the façade, the updated interiors), not least of which was the invention of the delicious beverage “bavareisa”, a very fashionable drink served in large glasses and consisting of coffee, chocolate, milk and syrup. This name was too reminiscent of a Germanic origin at a time when the Savoy king was struggling for the unification of Italy and the independence from the north-east territories from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so the new name Bicerin was also given to the bar, which, although very small with only a few tables, was a hotspot for wannabe philosophers, carbonari (the secret revolutionary society) and politicians. Among the consumers of this hot, strong drink you can count Dumas, Hemingway, Picasso and myself.
I especially enjoy it in autumn outside, in front of the silent square, where the Sanctuary of Consolata is also located. Hence, definitely something you should experience in Turin… but please do not plan any heavy meal afterwards: the bicerin is a meal in itself!