Sunday, October 24, 2010
I'm on the train, headed back from the Salone del Gusto to Rome. After four full days spent eating, drinking, learning and meeting some incredible people I'll have lots to write about in the next few weeks.
As I've said, I've done this Salone thing many times in the past. Up until this year, I've always managed to find the time to spend at least one morning away from the Salone, visiting Torino. One of my usual stops is at Bicerin, Torino's most famous - and my favorite - cafe'. Founded in 1763, the cozy, wood-paneled rooms are where you go when you want to drink the drink that they invented: The Bicerin.
The bicerin is a heavenly concoction of strong espresso, bitter chocolate and heavy cream. I've never figured out why it hasn't become famous anywhere else. You'd think a quick shot of chocolate/coffee/cream would be on everyone's top ten list? But no, I've only ever seen it in Torino.
Sadly, this year the Salone and Terra Madre was so big, and I had so much to see, do and eat that I never made it into town (except for dinner, more on that later). But, happily, Lavazza had set up a big pavilion at the Salone where I was able to have a perfect bicerin. In fact, this was the very last thing that entered my mouth before leaving the Salone. Not a bad send off.
Bicerin carefully guards their recipe for making the perfect bicerin. But, given the fact that there are really only three ingredients, you can play around and figure it out. Here is my version:
Make very strong espresso, any way you prefer. ( I have to admit that I am partial to my Nespresso machine these days, and use Ristretto.)
Heat 1/4 cup heavy cream. Be careful not to let it overheat.
Grate 3 Tablespoon of the best semi sweet chocolate you can get, and slowly stir it into the cream until it is smooth .
Take room temperature heavy cream and whip it just a bit, until it starts to thicken. You don't want it to be whipped cream, just thicker than liquid.
Heat a glass espresso cup by pouring hot water into it and then dumping it out.
Add 2 oz of hot espresso.
Add 2 oz of cream chocolate mixuture.
Top with a generous dollop of cream.
You don't want to mix, but layer. That's the point of the glass cup. It's pretty.