Among the Italian regions, Piedmont certainly deserves a place of honor when we talk about pastry specialties. Certainly Pinerolo is no exception and we have to put it in the list of the sweetest cities in Italy, to visit at least once in a lifetime to taste and thrill with Pinerolo sweets.
There are, however, Pinerolo sweets that not everyone knows, or at least not everyone knows their historical origin. But in Pinerolo, they remind the memory of childhood only to feel the smell, and that’s enough to make them special.
The Zurich cake
The tradition wants Princess Jolanda of Savoy to frequent Pinerolo and, at the beginning of the 1930s, asked the Master Pastry Chef Castino to create a special sweet dedicated to her. That’s how this cake was born: a cocoa pastry filled with chantilly cream enriched with nougat and chocolate, covered with unsweetened chocolate chips and garnished with glazed cherries. The “Zurich Cake Pinerolo” brand is registered to guarantee the uniqueness of this sweet that you can taste in its original recipe only in Pinerolo among the tables of the Old Casino Pastry.
The Piedmont panettone
The pastry chef Pietro Ferrua and his wife Regina, in their workshop at Via del Duomo, for the first time in 1922 baked the Piedmont low panettone, then covered with a delicate hazelnut glaze. From that moment on, the historical brand Galup was born and propagate this sweet first throughout Piedmont, and then, thanks to the advertising campaigns with the Turin actor Macario, all over Italy. Even today, if you are in Pinerolo during the Christmas period, you will feel the perfume of the panettone that fills the air of our city.
Not everyone knows that the cri-cri, the candy-covered pralines, were invented in a pastry shop in Torre Pellice in 1886. A pastry-boy mistake the caramel of hazelnuts and, in order to recover, decided to cover them with dark chocolate and then dress them with many tiny white sugar balls. The name comes from a romantic story: Cristina was a Turin seamstress with a young lover who always bought these pralines for her, one day they came together in the pastry and the saleswoman heard the girl called with the affectionate Cri. From that moment on, every time she sees the young lover, she says “Cri?” and he answers “Cri!”.
The Caffarel gianduiotto
It’s true, the gianduiotto was born in Turin, but was designed by a pastry chef in Luserna San Giovanni, where the historic Caffarel chocolate manufacturer is now based. The idea of combine chocolate and hazelnuts is due to the shortage of luxurious kinds, including cocoa, in Piedmont during the Risorgimento: so to remedy was born the gianduia. During the Carnival of 1865, the gianduiotto, the first wrapped praline of history, the undisputed king of Piedmont delights, was distributed to the public: it is impossible not to taste it in Pinerolo.
Leavened round waffles (only flour, water, yeast and a pinch of salt), crispy exterior and soft inside, cooked on a special cast iron plate that impresses the surface with a distinctive honeycomb pattern. They are the excellence Piedmont street food, to be tasted in both salty and sweet version, filling them with cured pork meets, cheeses, or honey, jams and chocolate cream. They were born at the end of the eighteenth century in the houses of the inhabitants of Val Chisone as a bread substitute when, because of the snow, they could not reach the downstream foragers, and today they are rediscovered and served hot in several Pinerolo places.
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