Short history of the confectionery in Turin and Piedmont

Turin and Piedmont have a rich and ancient confectionary tradition that has its roots in the history of the courts and cloisters of the High Middle Ages and the Renaissance to arrive until 1861, the golden age of Torino. Confectioners, with zabaglione and cream pastry, confectioners, with candy , sugared almonds, nougat, glacé, and maitre chocolatier have created new sweetness and laid the foundations for the national confectionery industry, so as to deserve to Turin the title of “capital of sweet and chocolate “.
In 1500 the Piedmontese confectionery art reaches a degree of wealth and sophistication without precedent: a craft which boasts the best pastry chefs in the peninsula develops in the court of Piedmont. With the increased availability of sugar cane in the nineteenth century, pastry and confectionery shops are multiplying. In Piedmont confectionery artisans are preferred in the economic climate of Turin, home of the Savoy monarchy, where many raw materials (sugar, cocoa and coffee) come less burdened with duties as compared to other Italian states.

Some of the best creations of the glorious past of Turin are still habitually consumed in the best cafes in Turin and in Piedmont.

Zabaglione: it seems that in the court of Duke Carlo Emanuele I (1562-1630) in was served zabaglione or sabayon, exquisite cream with a delicate flavor and vigorous. How to do it: mount an egg yolk with two shells of sugar until the mixture is almost white, then merge two abundant shells of marsala wine and one of water, then cook in a double boiler or over low heat, stirring until the first sign of a boil. Thanks to its scent a dusting of cocoa powder completes the richness of the recipe.

Amaretti: these are sweets produced in many areas of Piedmont, they are made with sweet and bitter almonds. They are the essential ingredient in the preparation of peaches with chocolate. In Turin, in the summer, it is ever-present on the table of every family as well as in restaurants, the pleasure of peaches stuffed with amaretti, chocolate, sugar and butter and baked.

Baci di Dama: from the second half of the nineteenth century they are typical sweets of Piedmont, originating in Tortona and, with some variations, in the province of Alessandria. Amaretti are formed by two caps of paste made of the famous hazelnut “Tonda Gentile of Piedmont”, linked by an inevitable drop of chocolate that designation to find the whole history of Piedmont.

Krumiri: born in 1878, the cookies are curved in pure wheat bran. This specialty of Casale Monferrato, it accompanies the service of coffee, tea and hot chocolate in cafes, during the cold winters of the region of Piedmont.

Biscottini di Novara: light biscuits made with wheat flour, eggs and honey. It’s a light biscuit suitable for breakfast, snack and preparation of traditional sweets such as Tiramisu, specialties, which says a lot about the virtues of the recipes made with eggs, milk and chocolate.

Bicerin: the chocolate drink, water-based, arrived at the court in Turin at the end of 1500 and is distributed in the shops of Turin from 1680 onwards, remaining the only use of the cocoa. In 1800 century the chocolate began to be mixed with milk and other ingredients, thus saw the bicerin: milk, coffee and chocolate sweetened with sugar syrup and served in glasses that offer even before the pleasure of taste the joy of sight.

Gianduiotti: These chocolates are named after Gianduja, carnival mask Turin. The gianduiotto is the first chocolate to be wrapped. The aroma of hazelnut and cocoa beautifully accompany a good cup of coffee.

Chocolate egg: it was born in Turin in the nineteenth century in the shops of Turin, when the aristocratic give eggs carved wooden or semi-precious stones as a sign of hope. Even today it is tradition to give a chocolate egg at Easter, first of all to the children. The eggs crafts can be made with milk chocolate, dark chocolate or hazelnut, decorated with almond paste, sugar or colored chocolate. The eggs are hollow inside, and always contains a surprise for the lucky one who will receive it.

Savoiardi: The Savoyards cookies or lady finger are very light and crumbly, oblong, prepared with a dough in which the egg whites separately mounted in snow, make a remarkable lightness. During cooking, the air bubbles expand the heart of the cookies, so assume the typical frothy consistency. The “Biscotti di Savoia” saw the light in the late Middle Ages, and would have been created by the cook of the court of Amedeo VI, for a sumptuous lunch hosted in honor of a visit of the French royal family. Later, thanks to its success in the memorable banquet, these cookies and boast a name of “Savoyard”, were adopted “officially” by the Royal House of Savoy goodies becoming very sought after by young heirs of the dynasty.