Thursday, June 29, 2017

talk show 2

The second talk show of the fourth edition of Turin Epicurean Capital was hosted by the American actor Daniel McVicar now a Turin resident and truffle knight.
The other guests were Jan Egan aka The Watchful Cook, world renown food photographer Ilva Beretta and Turin astrologer and author Patrizia Balbo.

Daniel prepared different questions for all of his guests keeping the Italian food and wine culture as the red thread.
He started his talk show with Ilva Beretta who rigorously uses only her camera and studio to take her pictures. She is unable to use a cellphone and to photograph what she eats like most of us. Through her pictures though she likes to tell food stories, and she shows the ingredients before and after meals. She calls it fine art for food and indeed it is fine art since she customizes lights, colors and cuts according to the need.

Jan instead is a real food (and wine) activist, she started her blog to show how you can keep quality cost conscious. She added that especially in the UK, much more than in Italy, but very similarly to the USA, food is a class issue. Poor people have only access to poor quality food.

On the other hand, astrologer Patrizia isn't a foodie at all, she could live only on gelato because of her Jupiter placement. She explained that Jupiter rules nutrition, pleasure and our relationship with our mom.

Patrizia gave us some insights about how astrology works in our lives and how the different planets' positions influence us. She also presented her book Ai Piedi di Venere or At Venus' feet soon to be released in English too.

So Daniel recalled his experience in the Italian Celebrity Survivors, when he lost 15kg - 33lbs because they were barely given half a portion of rice a day.
He survived easily but noticed that more than the lack of food, the Italian participants were actually missing the convivial side of the food experience and tried to find way to create it at any chance.

Ilva commented that in Sweden and other countries, people rarely talk about food, whenever there is a gathering, people ask "how it was? was it fun?" but Italians always talk about food and are very interested in all food details.
In her case, growing up in northern Sweden, she didn't like food so much. She didn't have much access to fresh produce and didn't like the fat in the meat either.

As she has now been living in Tuscany for about 20 years, she is finally happy even though she is not particularly fond of Tuscan cuisine: her passion is the Sicilian cuisine because of the freshness of its ingredients and the cooking styles.

An epiphany caught Jan at La Via Del Sale, a restaurant in Turin when she had fassone beef: she thought she had died and gone to heaven. In fact, even though Jan had lived in Japan and had had kobe beef many many times, she thinks fassone is just outstanding.
Then she told us about her food memories growing up in the UK:

For Daniel, the fourth of 12 kids, his mom had a weekly menu mainly made of convenience foods:

Unlike the other guests, Patrizia told that her food memories are quite frugal, like the hot cup of milk her mom fed her and her brothers in the evening for dinner but she explained how the Italian menu got structured in separate courses:

This was a very entertaining talk show with many different topics. Some came back, like the tuna casserole one, others were definitely new, like the role of Jupiter in our lives.

This second day of Turin Epicurean Capital 2017 was full of activities because after lunch, we had the Adriana Delfino's presentations and a sensorial aperitif with Lucia Andriolo.

Turin Epicurean Capital is above all food, wine and fashion

More clips on our youtube channel

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

TurinEpi 2017 cooking class

The Turin Epicurean Capital 2017 cooking class was taught by Chef Marco Giachello at Associazione Culturale Qubi' in a vibrant and growing neighborhood of Turin.
Chef Giachello has been a Turin Epicurean Capital supporter since our very first edition in 2014 and we are really happy we could work with him again.

Chef and sous chef, Margherita Frari thought of an easy yet traditional menu our guests can replicate at home in their kitchens. Marco explained that we were going on a journey around Piedmont: from the mountains we would have the creamy cheese, from the Langhe wine district a scrumptious risotto with barolo wine and from the Roero wine district aka the orchard of Piedmont: baked peaches with amaretto cookies and chocolate 😋 because, after all, in Piedmont we are natural epicureans 😎

Chef Marco Giachello explaining our culinary journey

The first thing we got to was making bagnet verd or bagnetto verde in standard Italian aka green little bath.
We chopped by hand the parsley, we soaked the bread in vinegar, we added the cut anchovies and mixed everything by hand with a fork.
As Margherita was directing us through this preparation (video here), Marco showed us how a completely different texture this green sauce gets if you hand blend it. 

Jan Egan demoing how to hand whisk the bagnet verd 
For the cheese part in Piedmont we use fresh tomini, basically any alpine round soft cheese. This recipe calls for an unsalted cheese because when you top it with bagnet verd you should feel the contrast of the creaminess with the slightly crispy and savory sauce. For this recipe you make a cream cheese by adding milk to the tomino

Margherita Frari instructing about the cheese

here's our stylish tomino al verde, creamy, savory and crips
After working hard with the fork in the bowl, Marco brought over to the table some Roero yellow peaches. The Roero hills are less steep than the Langhe ones so the fruit is very fragrant and aromatic. Yellow peaches have more pulp than the white ones and, this is an important detail, because after halving them you have to scoop out a bit of their pulp to create the cup where you'll set the chocolate, amaretto cookie, rum and peach flesh mix before baking.

depitting the peaches and scooping out a bit of the peach pulp

Chef is adding the rum in the cocoa, amaretto cookie and peach pulp filling
Bill Goldstein is filling up the peaches 
This is really an easy-peasy recipe that can be made also with other kinds of cookies like corn meal cookies, and wines. The cocoa powder though should always be high quality 😉 
Bake at 180C - 375F for about 20min.

Marco explaining us the first steps of the risotto making process
As our peaches were baking in the oven we moved over to the stove for the risotto.
Making risotto is like writing poetry and in Piedmont it is one of our staple dishes so we definitely pride ourselves for our risotto techniques.

First of all Marco explained that because the onion cooks differently from the rice, he blends it and cooks it separately.
More than a dish, risotto is really a cooking technique that preserves the single rice grain texture, this means you have to tend to your risotto pot and stir it (video here) as frequently as you'll be frequently adding a ladle of stock whenever it gets absorbed.
Our stock was vegetable, made with water, carrot, celery and onion.
We used Carnaroli rice because risotto calls for a short grain rice, however, as risotto is a cooking method, you can also use other rice varieties.

for 1kg of rice, Marco poured a whole bottle of Barolo wine (1l.)
The perfect risotto should be al dente evenly cooked and slightly crunchy, if the grains are fully cooked then the risotto is overcooked. Risotto should be creamy, fluffy and not runny at all because it is not a soup. 

Marco shaking the risotto to add in air making it fluffy:

At the end of the cooking process you should add some butter and parmigiano reggiano.

Thanks Patty Boner for grating our parmigiano!

Risotto final step: fold in butter and grated parmigino cheese

You can't really substitute the cheese because no imitation can provide the same flavor 😞
And so we made it to the dinner table and enjoyed our very Piedmont menu.

Margherita plated our peaches 

Piedmont cuisine has many winter flavors but as you can see risotto is always in season 😋 

Thank you Marco, for teaching us how to cook in the real Piedmontese way with fun and thank you Margherita, for sharing with us your tricks of the trade!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

talk show 1

Turin Epicurean Capital 2017 was such a great success that the guests left 2 days after the end of our turinepi activities feeling they must come back for more!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

food for thoughts

Food and thoughts are strictly connected and yet too often we forget to reflect about what we are eating. Food keeps us healthy but in many ways, it's making sick an always larger portion of the population.
Before meeting with Lucia Andriolo, psychologist and psychotherapist we had never heard of mindful eating.
We too take sometimes for granted our amazing food even though in Turin we are blessed to have access to fresh, local, natural and seasonal food. Artisan producers are virtually everywhere and the food we crave is really just non-Italian specialties we can't replicate in our kitchen, like American bacon and tropical fruit.

Friday, June 9, 2017

food is alchemy

Planning Turin Epicurean Capital 2017, Chef Marco Giachello introduced us to his friend Margherita Frari at Associazione Qubi'.
We sat down with an espresso and got to know Margherita who is also a professional chef with a special interest in food properties and powers.

Friday, June 2, 2017

6 Italian things born in Turin

Italy is famous for many things, yet very few people are aware that these Italian symbols in the world were actually born in Turin, first capital of Italy in 1861. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

stars and shoes

Since the dawn of humanity, men and women have always been fascinated with astrology and its power of prediction, and at Turin Epicurean Capital we always keep an eye on our horoscopes both for fun and curiosity. 

Patrizia Balbo, astrologer and author