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Le strade di Torino

A bean-to-bar chocolate tour

A bean-to-bar chocolate tour

When walking down Via Cagliari (to get to Pᴧi Bikery for brunch, of course), I had often wondered about the building across the road, where a mural shows a woman with an orange shopping bag and the message Benvenuti alla capitale del cioccolato – “Welcome to the capital of chocolate”. Turns out, it’s the home of one of the city’s best chocolate makers, Guido Gobino, and they open their doors to the public for guided tours of the factory.


Guido Gobino Artisanal Chocolate Factory

Via Cagliari 15/b, Turin

Monday-Friday 08.30-12.30 & 14.30-18.00; Saturdays 8.30-12.30

€18 per person for a tour of the factory, including a chocolate tasting.
Tours are for a minimum of 5 guests, but if your group is smaller they will try to join you up with an existing tour group

A torinese institution

Just like it proclaims on the mural on the side of the Guido Gobino factory, Turin is often dubbed Italy’s chocolate capital – the story goes that the confection arrived to the city’s royal courts in the 17th Century, after the Duke of Savoy, Emanuele Filiberto, tried it at a wedding in Spain. Guido Gobino is one of Turin’s most lauded chocolate makers; the factory on Via Cagliari, in Turin’s Aurora neighbourhood, was purchased by the Gobino family in the 1960s, and to this day is where all their products are made by hand.


Chocolate, from bean to bar

While most chocolate brands around the world work with ready-made cocoa products to produce their goods, there’s a movement afoot to create artisanal ‘bean to bar’ chocolates. These chocolate producers source minimally processed cacao beans, transforming them themselves into the ingredients that ultimately become the chocolate we eat.

This is exactly what you’ll see during a visit to the Guido Gobino factory – the tour kicks off with a look at the raw ingredients – dried cacao beans – passing by the winnowing machine that turns them into cacao nibs (roasted, cracked cacao) which is then turned into cocoa and cocoa butter. On the factory’s lower level, we see the chocolates being made – production lines of gianduiotti (soft chocolates laced with hazelnut paste), piping hot streams of Piedmontese hazelnut cream used to make cremini (layered square chocolates), and speedy machines wrapping the morsels up in silver foil.

The producer’s story

Guido Gobino goes one step further in sourcing their cacao beans, working direct with high quality cacao producers for a selection of their sweets – purchasing unprocessed ingredients straight from cacao plantations can help to ensure better pay rates and working conditions for cacao farmers. At the end of the tour, a chocolate tasting session ends with a comparison of dark chocolate, single origin medallions – one is made with 70% cacao from the Chontalpa region in Mexico, which tastes fruity and floral; another is made with 80% cacao from the island of São Tomé and Príncipe, with a sour, smoky flavour.

All images © 2017 Alecia Wood