Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ivrea's cookies

Eporediesi

For all lovers of chocolate and hazelnuts out there, here's one more recipe from Piedmont. Eporediesi are the traditional cookies from Ivrea, a small town just 40min driving from Turin, famous for its carnival, tomini cheese and fairy tale wine: Erbaluce di Caluso - the only Italian DOCG wine in all 4 of its variants!

original eporediesi cookies by Pasticceria Balla in Ivrea

Curiously these cookies carry the same curious name of the Ivrea inhabitant: Eporedia was in fact how the Romans called this town. According to Pliny, the Romans chose it because of the horse breeding skills of the residents and as it customary in Italy: the cookies inherit the names of their bakers and eaters.

As their origin and original recipe are unknown, these cookies vary a lot according to where you buy them.
They look dark brown, round, wide and flat. Their texture though is highly seductive: crispy on the outside and soft inside!
You'll be able to find them only in Ivrea as you can't buy them anywhere else, unless you make them yourselves at home.


Pasticceria Balla is in Corso Re Umberto 16 in Ivrea 😉

Here we are sharing one recipe to give you an idea of their flavor:


  • 100 gr - 2/3 Cup raw hazelnuts
  • 50 gr - 1/3 Cup unpeeled sweet almonds
  • 100 gr - 1 scant Cup cocoa powder
  • 1  pack of vanillin (0.5 gr - 0.16 oz circa)
  • 3-4 gr - 1 1/4 teaspoon of powder cinnamon
  • 50 gr - 1/3 Cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 220gr - 1 Cup + 1.5 tablespoon white sugar
  • 80 gr - 3 egg whites
  • 1 pinch of salt

Finely chop the almonds and the hazelnuts
whip up the egg whites till firm and fold in all the ingredients.
Mix evenly and grease the cookie sheet.

With a pastry bag lay down the cookies: 5 cm - 2 inches long tubes wide about 1.5cm - 0.5 inch. 
With your wet palm gently squeeze them down.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar and let them rest for 2-3 hours.

Bake them at 165C - 329 F for 18-20min.
Be extra careful not to overbake them as they must be crunchy outside and soft inside.

To fully savor them, look for a bottle of Erbaluce Passito DOCG or if you can't really find it, we have a list of 5 great wines from Piedmont to pair with sweets: sweet, bubbly, dry, rose' and raisinated.



These cookies are heavenly on their own and with coffee, tea, gelato, milk, yogurt and wine they will just teleport you right here.

In the meantime, check out your flight to Turin airport - code TRN and e-mail: turinepi@gmail.com to plan your vidaroyal travel 😎






Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Turin discovered

Our friend Jan Egan aka The Watchful Cook is sharing with us her love for Turin.

After an international corporate life during which she was well paid, well travelled and well fed, she now has the luxury of combining her twin passions of Italy and food. Keen supporter of Slow Food and love to source and cook with authentic ingredients in her kitchens in London and Milan. She fell in love with Turin about four years ago and now she tries to be here as often as she can. She can’t be doing with fake or speedy anything and likely to rant about the industrialisation of food at the drop of hat. When not in the kitchen, she is likely to be found with her nose in a book, wandering around looking at art and architecture or listening to opera (the earlier the better). She is blessed with a wonderful Italian partner, Edoardo, whose role in the kitchen is to keep her glass filled.

Follow Jan on The Watchful Cook where you will find many enticing recipes and posts elegantly written in her down-to-earth and witty style!



Friday, April 28, 2017

Turin's aperitivo

For happy hour or aperitif, Turin is the cradle of the Italian aperitivo rite and all the drinks and foods related to it.

Vermouth and just some nibbles (cappuccino was Lucia's)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bicciolani from Vercelli

Piedmont is famous for its many local cookies, some expanded over the regional borders and have acquired a national recognition becoming regulars on all Italian tables, others are still pretty much connected to their locality and you will find them only where they are produced.

artisan bicciolani

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Camporelli aka Pavesini

Each Italian town has its own cookie and camporelli are Novara's cookies or biscottini (tiny cookies).
Coming from the Milan Malpensa airport, driving or riding the train toward Turin, you go through Novara, also known as the gorzonzola cheese hub.

Camporelli are among the few cookies or biscotti that go through a double "cooking" (baking) - bis-cottatura process.

eggs, sugar and flour

Friday, March 24, 2017

Gobino's chocolate factory

We have already told you how Turin has been the European chocolate capital since 1600 but we have never shared with you how cool the Gobino's chocolate factory is 💁

the Gobino factory is in Turin and the neighborhood perfumes of chocolate!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Turin rocks

If you have never heard of Turin or Torino and you have no clue about it, or if you haven't been here yet, after reading this post by our friends the independent people, Xavier and Valeriia, you will simply want to teleport here!



Xavier and Valeriia, a couple of cyclists, dancers and photographers explorers are living the expatriation experience, currently in England. On their mission to discover hidden or little-known spots of Europe and prove that there is no need to go too far for some genuine treasures. You can read them on their blog Independent People and follow their adventures on Twitter and Instagram




Thursday, March 9, 2017

Amanda's cheese spots

Today we are sharing a new guest post by our friend Amanda, a new resident in the Piedmont wine country!

Amanda Courtney born outside of the Boston area, after high school she went to study metal-smithing and jewelry design at the Maine College of Art in Portland ME. Which then brought her to Los Angeles and from there she was tantalized by the super passionate and exciting food and wine scene that LA had to offer.  It was then that she found her passion and where she got her wine degree at the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust. Working with wine, talking and educating people about the different regions, varieties, and philosophies of the winemakers, she had found her true talent. She now lives and works in one of the most important wine areas in Italy, Piemonte. Having recently started up her own Wine Adventures company she is now able to show people around this area to educate them about the food, wine, and culture of this wonderful place.  

You can find her at www.amandaswineadventures.com



Friday, March 3, 2017

Turin's bicerin coffee

Turin more than any other city in the world is so characterized by its own coffee culture to have its own coffee: bicerin.


The word bicerin comes from the local dialect and it means small glass because back in the 18th century it was served in a small glass and at a small price to allow everyone to enjoy it.
This decadent coffee drink includes chocolate and frothed cream and it's the evolution of "bavareisa", another 18th century popular drink, served in large round glasses and enjoyed mainly by aristocrats and wealthy people.

According to the local custom, the bicerin's identity stays in keeping the three layers of coffee, chocolate and cream unstirred so as to fully taste them separately. After all, this is not a cappuccino, a cafe' moka or any other kind of similar coffee you can enjoy anywhere else.

bicerin and the cookies to dunk: torcetti, baci di dama, canestrelli, krumiri and lady fingers
Most likely it was invented in a tiny coffee shop that today carries its name: Caffe' Al Bicerin, located in Piazza della Consolata, between Via Garibaldi and the Porta Palazzo market. This is the only place in the world where they still serve it following the original and secret recipe

Anywhere else in Turin, you will still be able to order it but... the ingredients, their amounts and preparation will not be exactly like the one enjoyed by the Count of Cavour, the very first Italian Prime Minister and all the other prominent people of the past like Picasso and E. Hemingway who adored it!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Piedmont royal cookies

or savoiardi better known in English as Lady fingers 😋

These are the top royal Piedmontese cookies invented in the 14th century by the chef of Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy when the King of France and his court came over to Turin for an official visit.
They loved them so much that that's how savoiardi became the official royal cookies and were offered to all the royal guests as a symbol of the local cuisine.


The first registered recipe dates back to the 16th century and it precises that these royal cookies made in the Savoy kingdom require little flour, egg whites and sugar.

Even though this is a traditional Piedmontese cookie, it spread out to all the lands governed by the Savoy dynasty and this is why you can find savoiardi in many Italian regions with slightly different recipes and under different names.
Their spongy texture allows them to fit many Italian desserts like tiramisu', trifles, bavarois, charlottes, vanilla and chocolate creams and many more.
They even made it over the borders, to France where they are known as biscuits a' la cuillere or spoon shaped cookies, and Dumas wrote about them in his food dictionary.

Savoiardi are usually soaked into liqueur, coffee and are easily given to infants. They are also rather light and crumbly; like many other traditional cookies, they don't contain any leavening agent, and their sponge texture is given by the egg white meringue. While baking, the air bubbles of the meringue grow and provide their typical spongy texture.

Savoiardi recipe 

makes about 40 cookies

00 flour 80 gr - 2/3 cup (slightly less)
7 eggs
potato starch 80gr
1 vanilla pod
sugar 120 gr - 1/2 cup + barely 2 tablespoons
1/2 lemon zest
a pinch of salt

to sprinkle: as much granulated and powder sugar as you like

oven: 200C - 400F

*This recipe is easier if you have a Kitchen Aid or similar kitchen machine.


  • Carefully separate the egg whites and whisk the egg yolks up with half of the sugar. Then add the vanilla beans and the lemon zest. Whisk the yolks for about 10 minutes till they get fluffy and light in color.
  • Get the 7 egg whites in a bowl with a pinch of salt and beat them up till getting stiff glossy peaks. With a spoon, slowly fold in the other half of the remaining granulated sugar. Be careful to fully incorporate the sugar but not to deflate the meringue.
  • Gently fold in half of the egg yolks batter; then, slowly, add the sifted flour with the potato starch. Then add the other half of the egg yolks, folding them in with a spatula.   
         The firm and fluffy batter you end you with ensures that the lady fingers keep their shape while           baking.

  • Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper, fill a pastry chef bag (sac a' poche) with the batter and cut a 1cm - 1/2inch opening to lay the cookies down. Each cookie should be about 10 cm - 5 inches long; remember to allow some distance because they grow while baking.
  • Generously sprinkle all the cookies with some granulated sugar and then sprinkle the powder sugar too.
         
         Bake at 200C - 400F for about 10-15minutes

Check they are golden baked before getting them out of the oven.
With a spatula lift them up or let the parchment paper slide on the table where once cooled off, you will easily be able to pick them up without breaking them.

If you aren't eating them all up right away with your tiramisu', trifle, fruit salad or milk, you can keep them in a tin box for up to 2 weeks! Make layers with some parchment paper so they won't stick together.


Wine pairings:

Best wine pairing for savoiardi: Moscato D'Asti DOCG
Best wine pairing for tiramisu': Erbaluce Passito DOCG

Plus of course all the bubbly wines both sweet and dry from Piedmont ;)


Enjoy!!



Thursday, February 16, 2017

Turin: love at first taste!

Our food and travel blogger friend Patty Boner talks about her love at first taste with Turin! As her guest post is very detailed, you will be traveling with her while enjoying her writing and pictures!
Patty is the author and photographer of delish Foodie Sneak Peeks where you can find all her culinary adventures around the world and at home!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Cintia Soto's Turin

This week we are sharing a guest post by our friend Cintia Soto, an amazing photographer and lover of all things Italian. After years of online friendship, we met her in person last September during the Slow Food convention Terra Madre in Turin and in front of a bicerin coffee, she shared with us her love for Piedmont and the authenticity of Turin.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mardi Gras fritters

Very few foods have a huge comforting power: home made Carnival fritters sprinkled with powder sugar are one of those, at least to all Italians 😍


In fact, Carnival like any other holiday is connected to a culinary specialty and wherever you'll go, in Italy as well as, in many other Latin countries, you'll find these fritters.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Piedmont canestrelli

Cookie lovers, Piedmont offers an endless list of delicious cookies and many share the same name like canestrelli!
In fact, according to where you'll visit, you can find waffle like cookies, thin wafers or wafer sandwiches, could it get anymore scrumptious?

Piedmont canestrelli from Val di Susa (the waffle-like ones) and from the Canavese district (the large holy wafers)

Friday, January 13, 2017

White Truffles

We are always bragging about Piedmont and Turin, our royal lifestyle made of decadent chocolate, cashmere sweaters, designer's cars and long tradition slow food cuisine. 
It is true, but after all, despite our totally understated regional pride and local promotion, we can 😎