Thursday, June 14, 2018

Kelly's passion from Turin

Kelly Strobel of Italian At Heart - La Dolce Vita Through Food and Wine From Italy to California is sharing with us how her love for food and wine was born back when she studied abroad here in Turin.
Kelly is one of the TurinEpi18 guests. 
Kelly is a teacher of Italian and English as a Second Language and she blends her love for languages with food and wine. She shares her blog with her partner in crime Alberto Semenzato, also a Turin Epicurean Capital 2018 guest. After all, the best things in life are those you can share 😎

Alberto & Kelly


How Torino Sparked my Culinary Passion

It has been a long time since Torino and I have met. The last time we were together, we were both preparing for monumental events: I for college graduation, and Torino for the Winter Olympics. 

I studied abroad in Torino my last semester of college to study Italian. At the time, my university only offered an exchange program in Torino (though now they have programs in many other Italian cities). I am so grateful that my studies took me to Torino. Even though Torino is Italy’s fourth largest city, one trip to Florence, which was filled with Americans speaking English and outrageous prices, made me realize that Torino is still a hidden gem. Torino became so dear to me not only for the people I met and how it started to feel like home, but also because it ignited my culinary fire. 

I have always known the value of cuisine because my very busy mother always made it a point to have a home cooked meal on the table, but it was in Torino that I became curious about how it relates to a culture. In fact, most of my initial culture shocks were related to food! 

I was intimidated by Torino bars, as stunning and elegant as they are. Drinking a coffee standing next to strangers! And ordering in Italian! (I had barely learned how to say where I was from at that point). In fact, I was still learning to love strong coffee then (now I can’t do without a daily caffè). The university cafeteria was my coffee haven. There, the cashier made it a point to learn our names. My Italian teacher prioritized cappuccino breaks. I tried my first cioccolata calda (hot chocolate), and I was astonished (and then delighted) that it was thick enough to hold up a spoon. My chocolate obsession intensified when I was introduced to the heavenly combination of chocolate and hazelnut in gianduja. And when there was a chocolate festival in town and I missed the bus to our excursion, my friends imagined that I was in Piazza Castello, smothered in chocolate from head to toe. That’s how irresistible gianduja is. 

Choco fest in Turin

There were so many new unspoken food “rules” to learn. In fact, I learned these rules by breaking them. One of our first nights in Torino, a group of us hungry Americans arrived at a pizzeria around 6:00 p.m., only to find the door locked. We couldn’t believe it! That would have been prime dinner time in the U.S. Eventually, we figured out that ALL the restaurants were closed until 7:00 p.m. at the earliest, so we obediently returned on the dot, only to be the only ones in the pizzeria until 8:00 p.m. rolled around. (Eventually, we learned about aperitivo, and that solved many of our problems!) The pizza itself was a shock as well, just one or two toppings, and a WHOLE PIZZA all to oneself (a dream come true). 

coffee or aperitif in Piazza Carignano

Another rule we unknowingly broke was making a pesto risotto for a get-together in our apartment. In the U.S., we love pesto and slather it on anything and everything from sandwiches to pizza. When my roommate proudly proclaimed to our Italian teacher that she had made pesto risotto, my Italian teacher defiantly said, “No! It’s impossible!” and went on to explain that pesto can only go with a few types of pasta. My roommate just shrugged her shoulders and replied, “well, it was good.” After trying fresh pesto in Liguria, I’ve become a bit pickier about how I eat my pesto (sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you try the real deal). 

While part of the fun in the kitchen is experimenting with new techniques and combinations of flavors, I equally love the culinary traditions that are deeply ingrained in Italian culture. Unfamiliar customs like savoring the meal at the dinner table for hours without the waiter shoving the check under your nose before your last bite, shopping for produce at an outdoor market, and pairing a few carefully selected complementary and seasonal ingredients started to feed a yearning I had never known was there before. 

Porta Palazzo market

What stole my heart the most about Torino was our nightly trips to the gelateria down the street, and how the lady behind the counter would so patiently teach us how to pronounce difficult flavors like stracciatella. I became so passionate about food not only for the flavors, but for its ability to nourish oneself, connect people, and carry on traditions. 

Since the last time I have been to Torino, it has changed, as have I. I hear there’s a metro now, and who knows what other surprises are in store. My palate has matured, and now I appreciate the strength of an Italian caffè and no longer fret about ordering in Italian. I can’t wait to meet Torino again at this year’s Turin Epicurean Capital. It has been too long since I have seen an old friend, and we have a lot of catching up and dining out together to do. 

artisan gelato

Text by:
Kelly Strobel
Pictures by Lucia Hannau

Follow Kelly on
her website: Italian at heart
Instagram: @kellysdolcevita

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Turin Coffee festival

Coffee lovers of the world, early June, put Turin on your map for the coffee festival
This is a 3  day event full of caffeine where you will get the chance to get to know more about growers, blends, brands, artisans and latte art.

THE first coffee fair involving culture and tastings

  • Why coffee?
Because virtually anywhere in the world, we all get up to a cup of joe and sip many others over the day

  • Why Turin, Italy?
Because espresso was born in Turin where the very first espresso machine was invented.

what's more romantic than a coffee date??

  • When?
June 9 - 10 at 9am to 8pm and
June 11 at 9am to 2pm

  • Where?
In Piazza Carlo Alberto right behind Palazzo Carignano the very first Italian parliament

  • What?
There will be workshops, coffee tastings, presentations, cooking and cocktail shows

One of Turin's hidden gems, famous for its coffee blends and teas
  • How much?
It's free!!

  • Who had this great idea? 
Lavazza, Vergnano and Costadoro the coffee brands of Turin, of course!

  • Who will take part?
Chefs, pastry chefs, coffee makers, coffee producers, bartenders, mixologists, gelato makers

For gelato lovers: don't miss out on the Alberto Marchetti's presentation about gelato with coffee and affogato on Saturday, June 9th at 2 - 3pm
You must register|

at Orso's you can also buy your own coffee cup

Twelve historic torrefazioni or coffee roasting houses will take part too so when Turin Coffee is over you know where to go to savor a great coffee in town! Orso Caffé is naturally in the festival list 😎

This coffee festival is part of the Salone Off of Bocuse D'Or Europe 2018 and makes for another perfect excuse to come over to Turin and taste all our coffees and visit our royal coffee shops!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

travel money

Gelateria Miretti
Each country has its own system and payment preferences, taxes, commissions and tipping rules, in short "monetary customs".

Certain countries like Italy still love cash a lot, especially when you deal with independent providers. This is because the Italian fiscal system is "totally unsustainable and overwhelming" as the European Union put it years ago...

However, this post won't be about the average Italian financial situation, the 1000E/mo generation or our high VAT (22% included in every price you see) but rather about a few travel tips.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

memory stones

In Turin we like details, not only on our historic palazzos but also on the sidewalks we take on a daily basis. Whenever a friend, a follower, a guest or a visitor comes to town we always show them our "memory stones" or pietre d'inciampo for those of you who love Italian, or stolperstein in German.

Ottolenghi is a common family name here in Piedmont, whenever you think about the chef, think of us here

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Turin's tarots

Magic and Turin go hand in hand because of many reasons, we have already seen how occult symbols are spread all around town in this post by Mari Biella who took part to TurinEpi16.

As a general rule, Italians are very much drawn to magic, according to statistics there is one self-declared and practicing psychic every five Italians. On top of that, if we go into angels and Satanic sects, Turin scores number one in the Italian cities for highest number of people who have seen an angel and number of Satanist groups.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

4 palazzos in Turin

Turin is magic but to the non locals it is always quite hard to understand why...
Most Italians instantly think about our esoteric background, in fact, the city is full of magic symbols  on our palazzos and even underground, Turin never stops to amaze you.

What we really refer to though is our atmosphere, because Turin is just unique thanks to its gorgeous palazzos and many historical architecture styles.
Here are 4 palazzos, you can partially visit for free to get a direct sense of our local magic 😎

Thursday, May 3, 2018

G is for Genepy

Elda's Genepy
Our friend Elda has recently gifted us with a bottle of her own artisan Genepy. As this is a traditional Northwestern Alpine liquor, this is what we are sharing with you today.

Piedmont's very diverse landscape can be  divided in layers: a crown of mountains - the Alps, a ring of hills - where our wines and truffles are from, the plain with the longest Italian river, the Po and the lakes flow. This rich diversity in our landscapes generates an amazing variety of climates and biodiversity,  and consequently, of both natural and artisan products.

Seasonality is another key word whenever we are talking of our local products, because wines, cheeses and local dishes are forced to follow the four distinct season Piedmont enjoys every year.
This is why we love to say that in our region, fashion and food together follow the seasons 😁 

So, it doesn't come as a surprise that the very first Italian National Park - Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso (established back in 1922) is also located here in Piedmont where we have always felt a deep connection to nature and its rhythms. 

Genepy is a traditional product of the Western side of Piedmont and can also be produced in our neighboring Valle D'Aosta region.
It is made only from specific  and locally grown varieties of the Artemisia genus, a medicinal herb  or shrub of the family of mugwort, sagebrush and wormwood. One of these local varieties is called Genepi because it is used to make this liquor.

These are short, hard herbaceous plants that grow up among the rocks near where glaciers start, at 2000/2700 m or 6561/8858 ft. These short shrubs are 5 to 20 cm or 2 to 8 in tall and follow a quick vital cycle, so they must be picked fairly quickly, at the end of the Alpine summer.