Bicerin Coffee and Cocoa Beverage (Most Authentic Recipe) (2024)

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Bicerin is a coffee and chocolate beverage from Turin (where the drink was invented) and this is the closest you can get to the real thing without stealing the recipe, or visiting Al Bicerin!

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Although the original Bicerin recipe is a well-kept secret (as most famous drinks and concoctions are), after tasting the real thing in Turin, it’s very clear that most recipes found on the internet are not even close. Yes, even Eataly and Forbes have it wrong. 😣 I hope Stanley Tucci highlights the Bicerin when his Turin episode on Searching for Italy airs soon! (Edited after the episode aired: even Stanley got it wrong, sadly.)

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This recipe I’m sharing is as close as you can get without going to Turin yourself. I want to set the record straight as there is so much misinformation on the internet. When I visited Turin for the first time, I went straight to the source: Al Bicerin.

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My friend, Sanam from My Persian Kitchen, joined me in going to taste the original version of this popular beverage in the heart of Turin.

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By the way, I loved this city so much, I returned three months later, and again the next year!

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Turin Epicurean Capital

First of all, I must tell you that this recipe was a collaboration between Lucia Hannau, from Turin Epicurean in Turin (or Torino, as it’s called in Italian) and me. You may remember that I went to the annual Turin Epicurean Capital event twice–in 2017 and 2019– hosted by Lucia and Hotel Genio (you can see the room where I stayed in this converted palace)!

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Lucia has lived in Turin for many years, and is a definitive expert in many things, “Torinese”, such as the delicious authentic Bicerin coffee and cocoa drink. She grew up going to Al Bicerin with her mother and has interviewed the owner, as you can see in the photo below.

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She explained to me that the beverage must have three temperatures and three layers: coffee, cocoa, and a thick head of frothed milk (not cream-see below)! It takes good timing to concoct this drink as the coffee must be made simultaneously with the hot chocolate and then the frothy milk added. Lucia will tell you that I’ve been working on perfecting this recipe for years! I finally think I’ve cracked it (as close to the original as I can without having the actual recipe in hand).

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How do you Pronounce Bicerin?

In Italian, a c followed by e is pronounced “ch”, and i is “ee” so say, “bee-cherr-een”

What is a Bicerin?

A Bicerin is a three layered beverage invented in Turin. However, it is only a Bicerin if it’s made the way it was intended, or else it’s another coffee drink. This is what you’ll most often be served or make because most places and recipes will tell you to add cream for the top layer. I don’t have an issue with making a coffee drink with cream, but I do take issue with authentic Italian recipes being named as such, but then being made (and sold) as something else.

This is what I discovered on the Al Bicerin website: if you read the description of this beverage in English (translated from Italian) it contains “coffee, chocolate and cream”, however, reading it as written in Italian it contains “caffè, cioccolata, e crema di latte”. They also state that it is essential to use the best quality ingredients and patience.

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The last item is “cream of milk” which is just translated to “cream” when they really mean “frothed milk”. It’s a common error as most people think crema = cream, but dairy cream in Italian is panna, so they would call for panna if they wanted to use cream. As you can see, it’s a simple error, but it’s a big one when it comes to getting the Bicerin right because the third part of the drink is not cream, but milk.

Get the recipe for this incredible (gluten free) Piemontese hazelnut chocolate cake
served with whipped cream which is typically served with a Bicerin.

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NB: although espresso is now used, when the Bicerin was invented, espresso had yet to be realized as a beverage, so the original did not use it. However, from viewing videos of the drink being made at Al Bicerin, it appears that the current version does use espresso.

Does Bicerin have Alcohol?

While there is a liqueur called Bicerin Di Giandiuiotto, the hot beverage does not contain any alcohol.

A Bicerin looks similar to an Irish coffee, but it’s non-alcoholic.

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How do you Drink a Bicerin?

“The secret to savouring the true bicerin is to avoid mixing it, thereby allowing the various ingredients to come together directly on the palate, with their different densities, temperatures and tastes.” -Al Bicerin website.

So contrary to some other sites/tutorials where the instructions tell you to stir it before drinking, this is the LAST thing you should do with a proper Bicerin.

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How to Make a Bicerin

recipe adapted by Christina Conte & Lucia Hannau Makes 1 hot beverage

FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW

Special equipment: clear stemmed wine glasses (10 to 12 ounce)

  • cream
  • milk
  • dark chocolate
  • unsweetened cocoa
  • coffee
  • frothed milk

Make the Hot Chocolate

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In a small pan, pour in the cream and milk and add the chopped chocolate and cocoa over low heat. Whisk until a relatively thick, hom*ogenous mixture has formed and remove from the heat and keep covered.

Make the Coffee

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Be sure your coffee is ready to be made, so your espresso or strong coffee is ready right after your hot chocolate is made. Better yet, have someone else make the coffee while you make the hot chocolate (or vice versa)!

Froth the Milk

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I used a milk frother to make my frothed milk. Make it as thick as possible.

Make the Bicerin

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First, pour the hot coffee into the glass. I used a 14 oz glass which is why I recommend a 10 to 12 ounce glass so the recipe amounts fills it more as served at Al Bicerin.

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Next, pour in the hot chocolate over a spoon directed towards the side of the glass to make a cleaner looking drink (no splashes into the coffee). The more dense chocolate will fall to the bottom of the glass.

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Last, but not least, carefully add the frothed milk to the top. It should fill about a third of the glass. And that’s a Bicerin! Remember NOT TO STIR! Serve with torcelli biscotti (you may have to buy these in Italy!) or that amazing hazelnut cake I showed you.

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I hope you enjoyed learning about this unique and very special Italian beverage!

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Bicerin Coffee and Chocolate Drink

Yield: 1 drink

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Additional Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

  1. A three layer chocolate, coffee and milk beverage, invented in Turin, Italy.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz heavy whipping cream (this is NOT for the top layer)
  • ½ to 1 oz milk, depending on how thick you like the hot chocolate (more milk for frothing for the top layer)
  • 2 oz good quality dark chocolate (like 60-70%)
  • 2 oz espresso coffee (or a similar coffee) a double espresso or doppio (to be made fresh)
  • 1 tsp good quality dark cocoa powder (I used Barry)

-Special equipment: clear stemmed wine glasses (10 to 12 ounce)

Instructions

Make the Hot Chocolate

  1. In a small pan, pour in the cream and milk and add the chopped chocolate and cocoa over low heat.
  2. Whisk until a relatively thick, hom*ogenous mixture has formed and remove from the heat and keep covered.

Make the Coffee

  1. Be sure your coffee is ready to be made, so your espresso or strong coffee is ready right after your hot chocolate is made.
  2. Better yet, have someone else make the coffee while you make the hot chocolate (or vice versa)!

Froth the Milk

I used a milk frother to make my frothed milk. Make it as thick as possible.

Make the Bicerin

  1. First, pour the hot coffee into the glass. I used a 14 oz glass which is why I recommend a 10 to 12 ounce glass so the recipe amounts fills it more as served at Al Bicerin.
  2. Next, pour in the hot chocolate over a spoon directed towards the side of the glass to make a cleaner looking drink (no splashes into the coffee). The more dense chocolate will fall to the bottom of the glass.
  3. Last, but not least, carefully add the frothed milk to the top. It should fill about a third of the glass. And that's a Bicerin! Remember NOT TO STIR!
  4. Serve with torcelli biscotti (you may have to buy these in Italy!) or this amazing hazelnut cake.

Notes

Special equipment: clear stemmed wine glasses (10 to 12 ounce) and a milk frother.

DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO STIR THE BICERIN. DRINK IT AS IT IS MADE.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 1Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 534Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 30gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is only estimated.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a review by clicking on the 5 stars above, in the purple header (a form will appear) or tag me on Instagram! 😍

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Bicerin Coffee and Cocoa Beverage (Most Authentic Recipe) (2024)

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