Bicerin: elixir of my dreams

There’s a lovely beverage bar at Soma Chocolatemaker. Pull up a bar stool and sip on something warm as you watch the staff work their magic behind the glass walls of the chocolate and gelato laboratories.

I’m normally a fan of plain old hot chocolate, though a spicy hot chocolate hits the spot on a cold winter’s day. But before visiting Soma, I had never had the opportunity to try a bicerin. It’s a drink that the Piedmont region of Italy has claimed as its own. And having tasted it, I want to call it mine, too.

Take one part drinking chocolate and one part espresso. Make sure they’re piping hot and put them in the bottom of a bulbous glass. Then, gently float cold, softly whipped cream on the top.

Take a sip. And stop.

I dare you to not roll your eyes into the back of your head from sheer ecstasy as you taste the deep, dark chocolate; the rich, bold espresso; and the cold, surprisingly refreshing whipped cream.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that this simple drink is, well, simple. It’s a work of art. It’s an intoxicating balance of contrasts: temperature (hot/cold), texture (thick and rich/light and airy), and flavour (deep and dark/refreshing and creamy).

Even the experience of drinking a bicerin is fraught with tension. Clearly, something so deliciously beautiful should be savoured: slowly savoured, allowing your tastebuds and brain ample time to send happy nerve impulses back and forth that scream “oh my goodness!” and “ack!” and “egad!” and all other manner of sputtering. Sputtering, because your brain is wholly distracted trying to understand how one thing can be so amazingly tasty. You want to make the drink last an eternity.

Still, it’s so good that you just want more. And more, and more, and more. And before you know it, it’s all gone.

Thankfully, you took my advice at the beginning of this post and parked yourself at the beverage bar. Go ahead, order another one. You know you want to.

Soma Chocolatemaker
55 Mill Street, Building 48
Toronto, ON

Published by: Eagranie

7 years as a chemist + 9 months of culinary school + 2 years as a pastry chef & chocolatier + a lifetime of writing = this blog. This blog won't always be about chocolate, but it will almost certainly be about food. The name of the blog is a triple play on words. 1. It's a nod to my training as a classical pianist. Among other fantastic accomplishments, J.S. Bach combined technical prowess with artistic inspiration and penned the 24 preludes & fugues that make up The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books I and II. 2. In order to behave properly, chocolate needs to be tempered. In a nutshell, tempering prompts the chocolate to assume its most stable crystalline form (beta prime, if you're interested) so that it is shiny, snappy, and as stable as it can be. 3. Depending on my mood and how we meet, you might agree that I'm well-tempered. Or not.

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