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5 desserts worthy of royalty in Piedmont

Order one of these beauties in Piedmont after dinner or for an afternoon snack, nibble it with a tiny fork, and feel like royalty.


Piedmont’s past in entwined with that of the Savoys, one of Italy’s and Europe’s greatest and most powerful royal families. Their influence is seen in the architecture, history, art, and cuisine of the region. The family did not necessarily proclaim these desserts as their favorites, but with their regal presentation and delicate flavors, they could have easily graced their noble tables.

Order these five "royal" desserts in Piedmont

Torta di nocciola

Many Italian desserts are delicate and simple, but no less satisfying for it. This torta di nocciola, or hazelnut cake, proves it. Top quality hazelnut trees are cultivated in Piedmont to produce a special type of hazelnut called the Tonda gentile, officially called the Nocciola Piemontese IGP. The torta di nocciola is made of flour, ground hazelnuts, and butter for a soft texture and delicate crumb. Moscato d’Asti is its natural pairing. Hazelnut cake Hazelnut cake - © Creative Commons

Bonèt, or “budino”

This is a chocolate and hazelnut pudding made with a dash of liqueur, often rum, and amaretto cookies. A show-stopping dessert, it is served in slices and solid enough to stand on its own, yet still incredibly creamy and rich. Just right when paired with Barolo Chinato. Bunet Bunet - © Alexala

Baci di dama

Called “ladies kisses” because of their form, baci di dama are two-layered buttery, round hazelnut cookies with chocolate smooshed in between, like a Piedmontese Oreo. Legend has it that they were originally created upon request of King Vittorio Emanuele II in 1852; but documentation cites their creation in Tortona around the same time. Why not both? Perhaps the pastry chef in Tortona wanted to win favor from his king. Baci di Dama Baci di Dama - © Creative Commons

Bicerin

This layered drink invented in Turin in the 1700s. It is made of hot chocolate, espresso, and traditionally whole milk; or, as can be found in some locales, cream or whipped cream. It’s served in small glasses with a spoon and best enjoyed in an atmospheric, 19th century café as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Bicerin Bicerin - © Creative Commons

Torrone

The Italian nougat is an especially popular sweet during Christmastime in Italy. Made from egg white, honey, sugar, and toasted nuts (hence its name, which may come from Latin torrere, “to roast”), torrone comes in a range from pillowy-soft to satisfyingly chewy or perfectly crunchy. Though its origins are ancient, making it hard to pinpoint its original invention, each region has its specialty. You’ll know you’re in Piedmont when it’s dotted with toasted, aromatic hazelnuts, which sets it apart from its almond or pistachio versions in the rest of the boot. Torrone Torrone - © Courtesy of Relanghe