Thursday, August 17, 2017

Executive Hotel: an art gallery

In 2017 Turin Epicurean Capital has grown up, we needed a new partner hotel to host our guests, this is how we got to collaborate with Best Western Plus Executive Hotel and Suites in Via Nizza 28.
As always we like to rely on hotels with very high standards that are also conveniently located downtown so that our guests can just walk everywhere, because this is the most immediate way to get to know Turin.

the Executive Hotel internal hall is an informal meeting space

Having accepted Chiara Ferrua's invitation for a cappuccino, we took a peek and heard about the hotel she directs with her husband, Alessandro Garelli. Little we knew that the Executive Hotel is basically an art gallery with bedrooms!

Chiara offering us a savoiardo
As we arrived, Chiara led us to the patio and shared her story: she was born in Turin to parents who came from other northern Italian regions; she studied abroad in Spain while completing her university degree in business and then she moved to Milan for eleven long years!
Chiara is actually a corporate woman and worked for many big international companies like Pepsi, Bolton, Star and even Lavazza!
It is actually thanks to Lavazza that Chiara made it back to Turin where she got married to Alessandro whose father - among the many things - built the Executive Hotel!

Even though the Executive Hotel is today part of the Best Western chain, it is still managed and directed as a very personable family hotel where the guests are more like family friends visiting and staying at Chiara and Alessandro's. 
How is it possible? Because they strive with the customer care and their constant effort to provide the ultimate Turin experience!

Alessandro bought the giant wine bottle at Artissima the Turin art and design fair 
To start, the decor is rather unique and perfectly blends the locality with art pieces and bold colors: a giant bottle of wine by local artist Fontana welcomes you in the hall, a tandem bike is available for the guests who wish to ride to the Valentino Park, contemporary Italian design furniture hum that Turin is the Italian capital of design (no kidding) and ... the family travel souvenirs!
In fact, Alessandro's father also founded a tour operator specialized in Asia and all the statues, decor pieces and the pictures you see in the hotel andin the rooms, are actually the souvenirs and pictures taken over the many family trips.



Following the Asian philosophies, this hotel is in constant transformation to steadily enhance the guests' experience, like the newly completed the rooftop deck with a tub where the guests can subathe and dip in the water or rent it for a party. Surprisingly, even though we were right in the pulsing Turin's heart, and near a train station, it felt like being miles away!
In the winter, guests can reserve and enjoy the brand new wellness center without having to share it with strangers. What a luxury!!


the wellness center also has a nice gym and you can request the trainer

As Chiara put it, at the Executive Hotel they like to spoil their guests starting from the breakfast.
Alessandro and his father shop everyday for the local and seasonal products (fruit, dairy, meats); they bake on a daily basis cakes and sweets, they try to offer a nice mix of options for all dietary restrictions (sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, organic, fat-reduced, omnivores, you name it!), luxury foods like traditional savoiardi cookies and Moscato (yes, bubbles at breakfast!), they also have a juicer and of course a giant pot of Nutella!



All the bedrooms radiate peacefulness and calm: Chiara explained to us that they have invested in real wood floors and had carpenters realize all the furniture to provide their guests with the ultimate sense of being welcome but also because wood is allergy free!
Moreover they all come with a Lavazza coffee maker, local products (Barbera wine) and you should see the waterfall showerheads!! 

waterfall showerhead!

More than a hotel, the Executive is actually a large very stylish home where you can drive to and forget about your car in their underground garage, being located between the Porta Nuova station and the Valentino Park, in an area when you can walk, jog or get the subway. At lunch or dinner you have plenty of choices, like for example: Scannabue and I Saletta where the traditional decor contrasts with the presentation of our local dishes and flavors.

Inside the Hotel a large map of Turin decorates the walls so you always now where you are and in case, you can ask and the reception will provide you with itineraries!

natural light comes through the ceiling in this side of the hall near the giant wine bottle

As you plan your travel to Turin, follow this hotel on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Bubbles at breakfast, spa deck and showers, customized wood furniture, famous design decor and many art pieces served with a friendly and genuinely caring service make up the Best Western Plus Executive Hotel in Turin!  


Thank you, Chiara for the our!

  







Friday, August 4, 2017

our belly is our brain

After following his Instagram account for so many years, we finally went to meet Behrang Danesh Eshraghi to understand how Turin and yoga can go hand in hand and when it all started.

Turin is literally Behrang's home

Originally from Teheran, Iran, like many international students, Behrang moved to Turin in 2008 to pursue his studies. A former swimmer, he started coaching swimming part-time, then worked in different gyms and finally, his private students grew so much he had to open a studio in Via Albergian 20, at a 5 minutes subway ride from the very central area of Piazza Statuto/Porta Susa train station.


a self-sustainable and environmentally-friendly building puts you in good mood to yoga

After trying yoga once he got hooked and from then on, he started completing professional certifications every year in as many disciplines as he wishes to practice and teach. At the moment, he has more than 32 and his education is a work in progress.

After this picture was taken, this "Egyptian tourist" got up and did some asanas with Behrang

As yoga practitioners, we couldn't help and tested his teaching skills for you: by the time we left his studio we were just blissful 👌. No matter the advanced positions he guided us in and out of, or how he applied his weight to keep us balanced and aligned, by the time we left, our energy was just flowing through our nadis free and happy. No pains, just an overall sense of inner peace, and we walked back home glowing.
No wonder his students are always happily smiling, and yet those don't even take his yoga classes!!

the dragons of this building needed to quiet their minds
In fact, in town, very few people are aware that Behrang is a real Instagram phenomenon with his almost 40k followers and an average of 165k visualisations a month. So what's his secret?

"Everything starts in your belly" he told us. As somebody who has made of his body his own business and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle, it didn't take us by surprise when he added "our belly is our brain because that's where everything starts. To prevent and sometimes, cure some diseases, disorders and conditions, food is always key".




Clearly after almost a decade in Turin, Behrang has become a true Turinese!
He shops daily, both at his neighborhood market and in the grocery store to stuck up on local, seasonal and organic leafy greens, especially cruciferous aka the whole cabbage family, rich in many vitamins and famous detox and anti-cancer nutrients.
Eggs, cheeses, fish, beetroots, potatoes, yogurt, nuts, seeds and sometimes beer and red wine are in his shopping list. Sugars, milk, refined carbs and a lot of meat are not.
He closely listens to his body and eats consequently to get all the nutrients he needs; and in order to preserve all the minerals and vitamins, he has his veggies raw.

Turin's Parisian bridges

As he's teaching everyday except on Sunday. he has a very structured and busy schedule that starts at 7am with an infusion of fresh leaves and goes on till night.

In his little free time, Behrang lives Turin like his mansion, hanging out with friends in the different city's hipster areas where the residents enjoy art events and their social life, like: Vanchiglia (near where the TurinEpi17 cooking class and mindful eating aperitif were), Santa Giulia, San Salvario, in short the beating heart of Turin with many bars and restaurants where you can enjoy both local and ethnic cuisine.

contemporary architecture: one of our new churches

No doubt Behrang is a very dedicated professional that explains why many of his followers flock over to have class with him from all over Europe and beyond!

A very humble person, empathetic and compassionate teacher, give your body and soul a present before his classes are full. 
In or out of the water, in Turin's beautiful parks, in his studio, in Turin's train stations or on the street, Behrang will show you the way to your well-being.
Moreover, he's fluent in English too so you really have no excuse 🙌

Piazza Statuto

Hop over to Turin and to fully live our vida royal, have one of the many classes Behrang offers 😉
In the meantime, follow and get in touch with him on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube 

Berhang makes of Turin a peaceful city and you love it even more!




Photo courtesy of Behrang Danesh Eshraghi



  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Watchful cook at TurinEpi17

Our dear friend Jan Egan aka The Watchful Cook is sharing her experience as Turin Epicurean Capital guest. If you wonder about the insider's perspective, Jan is shading some light!
Grazie mille, Jan!

Photo by Lucia Hannau


Friday, July 14, 2017

Turin: an Italian discreet gem

Here's a second guest post by our dear friend Patty Boner of Foodie Sneak Peeks.


Patty Boner enjoying the aperitivo rite at "La Farmacia"

A guest of Turin Epicurean Capital 2017, she was very happy to make it back to Turin and try new foods and visit places!
Here below enjoy her second guest post about her Turinepi17 adventure 😎



Thursday, July 6, 2017

Turinepi17 thanks

This very successful fourth edition of Turin Epicurean Capital was made possible thanks to the priceless collaboration of many people. Today, we are taking the time to thank all those who made turinepi17 possible and smoothly organized:

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

walking tour and parade

The Turin Epicurean Capital 2017 activities finished with a walking tour offered by the GIA Tour Guide Association. Our tour was led by Laura Sgarlazzetta who strived to keep us cool, engaged and in the shade despite the exceptionally hot and humid weather.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

talk show 3

The third talk show of Turin Epicurean Capital 2017 closed the fourth edition at the peak of an exceptionally hot and humid heat wave.
Carolina Stupino aka Tastes of Carolina hosted the talk show with Patty Boner or Foodie Sneak Peeks and Amanda Courtney of Amanda's Wine Adventures.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Adriana Delfino at TurinEpi 17

On the second day of the fourth edition of Turin Epicurean Capital 2017, after our mandatory risotto lunch, Turin fashion designer Adriana Delfino started our journey through the senses, with sight and touch.

Adriana Delfino

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.



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.

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

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!

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 😎