Turin was declared capital city of Italian chocolate right after the Cateau-Cambrésis peace treaty was signed in 1559: Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, who had served as governor of the Habsburg Netherlands until that year, returned from Spain with some cocoa seeds – one of the American novelties Hernán Cortés had introduced in Europe after conquering Mexico.
After winning over the Spanish aristocrats, the gift from overseas became a treasure at the Savoy court – and was a favorite of Catherine Michelle of Spain, wife of Charles Emmanuel I. Soon, it escaped from noble circles and was sought after in all of Turin.
New bars opened where hot chocolate was served by the cup, and a few centuries later, in the early 1800s, chefs in Turin invented gianduia, a delicious mix of cocoa and hazelnuts.
Here are some posters from the 19th and 20th centuries, advertising chocolate companies in the city.