Saturday, December 3, 2016

Chocolate and perfumes

December 2016 in Turin opened with L'Essenziale - the essential, a special event devoted to perfumes. The most interesting presentation for us epicureans was tonight at the international bookshop Luxemburg near Piazza Carignano.

Inside Libreria Luxemburg, Roberto Drago and Guido Gobino
Knowing our sweet tooth, our friend and collaborator Simonetta Carbone, PR gave us the heads up last week during the storm and this is how we are just back from a real experiential trip through our nose and mouth led by Turin's maitre chocolatier Guido Gobino and Roberto Drago of Laboratorio Olfattivo.

Simoneta Carbone and Rai Piemonte journalist Orlando Perera
In Turin, chocolate has been the rave since the 17th century and Guido Gobino comes from an historical family of chocolate makers in Turin and he is the owner of the Turin chocolate factory - yes, like in Willy Wonka! He is one of the chocolate authorities in town and good friend of Roberto Drago, husband of Daniela Caon and owner of Kaon a luxury perfume company where they create new scents thanks to the collaboration with "gifted noses" like Andy Tauer

Andy Tauer, Kaon's artist nose 
This is how we found out how chocolate is highly sensitive to the environment perfumes and smells it gets exposed to, a bit like wine aging in the barriques: it absorbs and later release everything it breathed. 
On the other hand, perfumes are blends of essences, oils and fragrances; it is such a fascinating and complex world, one that holds the magic power of evoking feelings and atmospheres, making the perfume designer a real magician.

Many natural essences and oils can be artificially recreated however, the artificial smells are never a perfect copy of the original. Just like in fashion, natural fabrics hold a special texture and energy that can't be replaced artificially.

Kaon perfume samples
As we sat down in the bookshop, we were given a fan of separate perfume samples by Roberto. Scent after scent, we were asked what our noses detected and then we were passed on real Gobino artisan chocolates. Then Guido described how he had actually come up with certain recipes and what he had meant to achieve in terms of scent, texture and aromas.

bergamot scented arstisan white chocolate pearls 
We were also given a sensorial map to guide us through our brain process the different scents.
We went through 7 magic perfumes of Laboratorio Olfattivo and 5 Gobino chocolates.
We started with tiny white chocolate and bergamot pearls - if you drink tea, bergamot has a distinct scent, stronger than orange.
And then we tried hazelnut salty cremino with a drop of extra virgin olive oil and Cervia salt. This cremino was paired with Long Courrier an amazingly sexy perfume!!  

Salty cremino
We rubbed our hands with real rough chocolate and smelled Greedy Chocolate, a perfume with the deepest scent of the most natural chocolate bean. At that point our senses started being overpowered so we cleaned our noses with coffee. Even though chocolate and coffee go very well together, coffee has purifying qualities and acted like an eraser.

We tried some Neroli - lemon scent and a Sicilian orange zest covered in chocolate. How delicious!! To feel the difference we also smelled some orange essence.

Cappuccino cremino
We had a cappuccino cremino made with gianduja chocolate and Indian coffee to allow for that milk and coffee texture Italians love at breakfast. Really amazing!! As amazing as Amour de Cacao the delicate fragrance paired with it!!

We took a detour through the Patchouli world and how it was created back in the times; we got to sniff two other essences before coming back to our senses with a coffee bean covered in dark chocolate. The coffee bean kept the full roast flavor and the fragrance paired with it artificially kept the coffee brewing aroma in  its basic essence.

dark chocolate covered coffee bean

We closed with Alambar an elegant perfume suitable for both men and women. So good especially asked for a sample.

What a Friday night!! It's amazing how easily a perfume can change your mood and transport you miles faraway and how food can bring memories back and rewind episodes of our lives.

Once again Turin showed its most royal soul <3

Thank you, Simonetta! 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

behind the black raven feather

how the Alpini uniform changed over the years, left to right: 19th century, WWI, current. By Alberto Bonis 

Fashion has always had a special love for feathers and definitely, the Italian military uniforms particularly respect them. As in many cultures around the world, birds are symbolic animals and this is even more true for Alpini - the special Italian Alpine military corps.
Looking through the history and at their spirit, the Alpini's black raven feather, sticking out of their felt hat, just fits perfectly with them and Italy.
Like the raven in many aboriginal cultures around the world, the Alpini endurance and sense of duty is so great even Bialetti made an Italian coffee pot with the feather to honor and remember them!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

cornmeal cookies

All over northern Italy we have plenty of corn consequently, besides polenta, in Piedmont we also make traditional cookies with cornmeal, or in Italian, paste di meliga :P

delish tea flavored cornmeal cookies made by Tastinglife

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Adriana's inspiring purses

Ho the things Adriana's mind can create!

key words this week are: RE.generate and ECO fashion and what does our friend fashion tailor - as she doesn't like to be labeled "designer" - mean?

handmade Adriana Delfino clutch

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Nonno's grignolino

The Moncalvo area in the Monferrato wine dristrict is rather rich of farms and interesting locations for both wine lovers and foodies, therefore our tour had to visit at our friend Stefano's family vineyard. Yes, Stefano is one lucky man whose grandpa had a beautiful country house, the kind you only see on decor and design magazines and he also happened to own the "perfect vineyard"!

Stefano Girola of Poderi Girola winery showing us la Sossala

Friday, November 4, 2016

Queen goat

While in the Monferrato wine district, our friend Luca introduced us to his neighbors who have a Roccaverano goat farm!

cute goat sign point to the capra regina farm

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Moncalvo, the tiniest town

Our Monferrato tour this time brought us to the "Town of Moncalvo". Yes, tiny Moncalvo in the Monferrato wine district - roughly 3000 inhabitants - is officially a town since 1705. Who knew??!

Moncalvo main piazza isn't fully horizontal