What is Bicerin?
Bicerin is a creamy delicious combination of, strong bitter espresso, rich drinking chocolate topped with creamy, foamy milk or cream, you can add a touch of sugar to taste if needed but personally, I would opt for none.
The three liquids are layered into a small glass, from where it gets its name. Translated from Turinese dialect, Bicerin literally means, small round glass. It is pronounced 'bee-chair-een.'
If you ever visit Turin, you must go see Caffe al Bicerin in Turin's piazza della Consolata. They've been servicing up this delicious coffee chocolate drink at this location since 1704.
The History of Bicerin
It evolved from another drink, Bavareisa that was very popular in the 17th century, which was a mix of milk, chocolate, coffee, and syrup. The iconic place to drink Bicerin is in Caffe al Bicerin located in Piazza della Consolata. This wonderful historic café opened in the mid-18th century and is still going strong to this day, serving upwards of 300 cups of this delicacy.
The Caffe al Bicerin is such a wonderful place to visit in Turin and is next to the Sanctuary of the Consolata, known locally as 'La Consla'. This magnificent place of worship began construction in the 10th century and is considered an important site of Catholic worship and an architectural feat, due to its lavish, complex construction.
The locals drink it as a breakfast drink, and it certainly packs a punch. Ideally, you are not supposed to mix it. This way the three elements combine on your palate, and you get to taste the different tastes, textures, and temperatures all coming together as one.
It serves such a satisfying flavour and energy boost and is quite filling in itself. It is delicious with crunchy Piedmontese traditional biscuits or a piece of the exquisite Torta Bicerin slice.
Bicerin is so popular in Italy that they even have an alcohol flavoured bicerin drink in the form of Bicerin Giandujotto, Chocolate Liqueur, the perfect after-dinner treat or for a little midday kick, add a splash to a cup of coffee. Be mindful though because this stuff tastes like coffee and chocolate but it is 15% alcohol.
How to make Bicerin
If you want to try this at home, it is very easy to re-create. You need a small jug of good quality drinking chocolate, a strong shot of espresso and foamed milk, or whipped cream.
Combine a lovely bicerin with a sweet treat such as a millionaire's shortbread and you have one hell of a pick-me-up to drive you through the rest of the day. Any sweet treat with chocolate goes so well with bicerin.
Make all three liquid elements and carefully pour the chocolate first, then the espresso, and top with the foamy milk. You can add a tiny pinch of cinnamon to your chocolate for a little kick. Add sugar if needed. Most of the bicerin recipes on the web use cold whipped cream but you can just as well use foamy milk.
Watch the cool YouTube video linked below for a closer look.
This drink makes for a delicious alternative to your usual hot drinks and made well will provide a fun talking point with guests. It is always nice to try something new and adventurous, and it is even more exciting if you have actually visited the Caffe al Bicerin where it all began.