Bicerin (pronounced bichereen) is a rich coffee, hot chocolate and cream based drink with a hint of cinnamon that originates from the historic Italian city of Turin (Torino). It inspired the American version mocha, which is made using chocolate syrup.
Al Bicerin Caffe and Confetteria (confectioner), Turin, claimed to have invented the drink 250 years ago but it can be found in most cafes around Turin. Favored by the 19th Century Italian statesman Conte Cavour, the addition of chocolate and cinnamon lent the beverage a noble taste as these ingredients, which were prohibitively expensive at the time, restricted the drink’s enjoyment to the affluent.
If you are able to try an authentic Bicerin in Turin you will appreciate the thick, bitter and yet still sweet flavor — you can really taste the cocoa as this beverage is generally made with quality dark chocolate produced at the café. It is best served in a glass so that you can see the layering of the hot chocolate in the bottom, then coffee, then whipped cream.
This drink is traditionally served in a small, round glass called a bicerin, and is the origin of the drink's name.
To recreate this sumptuous drink at home follow this recipe:
- You want to make around a third hot chocolate, a third espresso and a third frothy cream.
- Warm the whole milk in a saucepan with the chocolate. Whisk the mixture constantly and let it boil for 1 minute (the chocolate mixture will foam up a bit). Alternatively, you can heat the milk using a De'Longhi milk frother, and pour it over grated dark chocolate. Remove it from the heat and set it aside while you make the espresso. If you are using sugar, add it to the espresso at this stage.
- Fill the bottom third of the glass with the hot chocolate mixture. Pour in the espresso. (If you want to help it create a definite layer, pour it in over the back of a spoon.) Sprinkle on the cinnamon.
- Add sugar to the cream, whip and top.
- If you don’t have chocolate you can use cocoa powder or make hot chocolate instead.
BEST COFFEE MACHINES FOR BICERIN
For a machine with an integrated steam thermometer, choose either a De’Longhi Pump Espresso or ECO espresso machine, which have two separate thermostats, allowing for water and steam pressure to be controlled separately, so you can always brew espresso at the perfect temperature.