Thursday, March 15, 2018

5 Turin tips

We are often asked the following questions about how to organize your trip over to Turin so today, we are answering to all of you!

Palazzo Scaglia di Verrua, Renaissance in Turin, see if you can find it!

How many days should I plan to spend in Turin?

3 to 7 days at least!

In 3 days you will get to know Turin very superficially, you will find out about many things that will make you want to come back 😍 but also leave sad 😓 because you are missing out on them... just because "you had no idea that Turin had sooo much to do, see and enjoy!" 😎
This is exactly what the Turin Epicurean Capital international guests comment when they come over for their very first time.

In 7 days you become almost a local, you have enough time to discover Turin and getting very familiar with its city center. You can have breakfast and aperitif in all the must places and keep a food journal listing what you had in our restaurants.

We realize that 7 days in Turin sound like a lot, but when you want to enjoy New York or Paris, the more you can spend there, the better. Well, Turin follows exactly the same rule 👌

You will also need to allow your body extra time to enjoy and properly assimilate all our local delicacies... and to go hunting for the bulls without being scared of getting lost.

Via Po, the original building of the University of Turin, founded in 1404

What areas should I stay near to?

In Turin, we have two train stations and a subway line. Thanks to our Roman grid map walking around is very easy, easier and more convenient than in Manhattan because the distances are definitely shorter.

We normally recommend to stay in the city center, near one of the train stations. If you are flying, you can take the bus from/to the airport and get off at Porta Nuova. Once in that area you can walk to Via Roma our 5th Avenue and to the San Salvario neighborhood (aka Via Madama Cristina) where many indie coffee shops and restaurants are.
For example, this is the area where the Turin Epicurean Capital guests stay, view the hotels that collaborate with us scrolling this page down.

If you are driving, you may want to consider staying near the Porta Susa area, so you can easily walk along Via Garibaldi and explore the Roman lanes with all their nice eateries.

Always look at the Turin map on Google maps and play a bit of Madame Bovary: visualizing yourselves already in Turin to sort of understand where you will be walking to, what you will be visiting and consequently, pick your accommodation.

When in Turin, you might easily go to bed late 💃 keep in mind the subway closes at midnight.

Piazza Emanuele Filiberto, near the Porta Palazzo market

How should I organize my visit?

Devote a whole first day to walk around downtown. Get a map and start walking through the centuries of the local well preserved architecture.
Sit down at a couple coffee shops for a snack and a ritual aperitif, take pictures of the shops you want to go back to to buy some hazelnuts and dry porcini mushrooms.

On a second day consider visiting the Porta Palazzo market where the whole city shops at. It is the best way to understand Turin, who lives here, what the cost of living is and how our menus are organized, especially in the restaurants.
Make a list of 5 museums and visit one a day.

Reserve a cooking class and make an appointment with a local designer (see our Fashion Friday section).
The general cooking rules of the thumb you will learn in Turin are seriously what any local nonna would teach you and not the touristy class you can take anywhere else along the boot...

As Italian fashion was born in Turin thanks to our local artisans, what you can buy here is even more special because you can actually get to know the designer 😜

Where should I go for cakes and where can I buy wine?

Easy: for cakes Clarissa in Piazza Vittorio Veneto 

For wine: click here

Grissini or Italian breadsticks come in many shapes, lengths and flavors

Is there something that people in Turin do that normally visitors don't do?

If you want to feel very much like a local, when in Turin you should go to a bakery and get some bread or grissini and munch on them as you walk.
Or if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, get inside a pastry shop and buy some of our bite size pastries - le paste in Italian. You can tell the sales assistant the number you want or how many you guys are. 

Paste or pastries are usually fresh with whipped cream, custard and fruit. They naturally need to be refrigerated if you want to have them at midnight with a glass of Malvasia wine or Moscato...

However, you can also buy some paste secche or cookies

In your selection, you can just go by the look or ask for un misto - one of each 😜 after all, it's for research!
Needless to tell you paste secche go with any sweet and bubbly wine plus grappa...

Agnolotti and gravy: one of the Turin pastas

In Turin, act like a local and you will appreciate our city + vidaroyal even more!

To arrange a walking tour, a cooking class, shopping, tasting sessions of local products, a yoga or an Italian private with us, e-mail:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Sweet life at the Turin's Lab

Let's face it, in the Italian tidy meal schedule, snacking and brunching don't traditionally fit in. Of all the Italian cities, in Turin finding a good tea time place is a task, our favorite is still Clarissa in Piazza Vittorio Veneto 😎

But just a couple blocks away, there is a magic door, you open it and instantly become Alice in Wonderland, celebrating your very merry unbirthday!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

our curry rice

As per our followers' request, we are sharing our 2018 flu go to rice recipe.
As at Turin Epicurean Capital we drink quite a lot of tea it is rather unusual we fall sick or catch the flu, apparently though, this year's strain has been rather virulent and, as we are burning the candle on both sides, we fell sick too.

Fever, cough, mucus, shivers, the ever-ending exhaustion feeling, the list of symptoms is long and we decided to kick it out of our system with some true soul food packed with all powerful ingredients: our curry rice with raisins and chopped hazelnuts just for a Piedmont twist 😜

This recipe is perfect for all the times you have no strength, will or time to cook something highly nutritious.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Mombaruzzo amaretti

Many of you might be familiar with the Amaretto liqueur and the amaretti cookies, but have you ever tried our Piedmont amaretti di Mombaruzzo?

First of all Mombaruzzo is a picturesque hamlet in the Asti area and this automatically makes us think of green hills, vineyards, renaissance castles, narrow and steep lanes, brick towers and a cute little piazza. Most def it is worth a visit, especially if you bake or are a cookie lover 😉

Legend has it that at the end of the 1700, Francesco Moriondo, bursar of the royal park of La Mandria (near the Royal Palace of Venaria) fell in love with one of the royal pastry chefs, a Sicilian lady. Her specialty was a cake made with almonds.
Once they left the court duties they moved back to Mombaruzzo where Francesco was born and opened a small pastry shop where they started selling a new kind of cookie: soft and elegantly bitter thanks to the almonds.

Amaretto in Italian means a bit bitter because this is how the first fans of these cookies defined them: good and a slightly bitter.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

the Romans in Turin

Once visitors make it over, virtually everybody falls in love with Turin, its elegant architecture and rational structure - a legacy of the Roman times. The ancient Roman military camp on whose grid the Turin's downtown developed together with the Palatine Towers are the local Roman souvenirs to remind everyone that Turin has a long history!

the Palatine Towers with the statue of Julius Caesar

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gianduia = Turin

Everybody knows Gianduia as the Turin's chocolate, but what does this name mean and who is Gianduia?

As we are approaching the Mardi Gras celebrations that closes the Carnival season in Italy, we felt the need to put all the puzzle pieces together: chocolates, Brachetto wine, Mardi Gras and Commedia dell'Arte 😎

Back in the Middle Ages, before actors where professionals, there were groups of people who impersonated characters and stereotypes and acted in the Italian piazzas. As there was no script, they usually improvised and took advantage of the regional dialects to add color to their interpretations.
This is very shortly how each Italian town got to be symbolized by a theatrical character who summed up in him or her the ways of his or her city.

Certainly, back in the 1200 - 1700, politically correctness wasn't an issue and little by little shows were organized where all these 'characters' acted together amplifying their own local stereotypes. Naturally these plays were funny, they were comedies and because they reflected the core of the Italian culture - at a time when Italy was still divided into many tiny kingdoms, republics, states - this is what came to be called Commedia dell'Arte - the true Italian essence of the art of the comedy.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

bear coffee? Orso

Turin is definitely renown for its many royal coffee shops, all more or less centrally located and the total lack of international coffee shop chains. This translates into a city with only indie coffee shops... yet in terms of coffee blends and brewing methods, you will find virtually only Italian style coffees: espresso, cappuccino, latte, marocchino and bicerin, caffé ristretto and corretto or lungo.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

L = Pastiglie Leone

Just imagine if you could get candies instead of medicines, and if gummy candies had medicinal properties.... Well this is how Pastiglie Leone aka THE Turin's candies started and how they are keeping up with their philosophy. Starting by their name because pastiglie means pills 😁

Mark this candy brand down because once again it makes a great souvenir thanks to all the nice tins and colored boxes you can find virtually everywhere, not only here in Turin and in Piedmont, but all over Italy too.

Original 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games tin by Pastiglie Leone

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rosolio or Vermouth's nonno

Ph. by Monica Bessone
It is no secret that the Savoy kings loved Rosolio so much they had made it the official royal liqueur up to 1786 when King Victor Amadeus III loved vermouth better and officially changed the royal production. 
Rosolio in all its variants is one of those products that have always unified Italy even before the unification in 1861. Despite the many versions of this distilled elixir through the boot, only Piedmont Rosolio was recognized by the Italian government as an official traditional local product.

This liqueur was born during the Renaissance and became more common once refined sugar became readily available.  It followed Catherine De' Medici to France while in Italy, it was made mainly in convents where the nuns knew how to extract the herb, flower and fruit essences to make liquors. Later, it was also made in private homes, where rose petals were macerated in a 50% alcohol and 50% sugar solution. Rosolio has always been a good base to make other liquors too.

The first Rosolio di Torino recipe was published in French in 1733. Around 1750s the Cinzano brothers start the first largest production of Rosolio and in the 19th century, Mr Carpano starts labelling his bitter rosolio Vermouth.

Its name seems to derive from the Latin 'ros solis' or sun dew and it literally means 'rose oil'; in fact, Rosolio has an intense yet delicate aroma, yet a stickiness similar to the oil one, making it ideal to close a rich meal such as the traditional Italian ones.

With the passing of the time, Rosolio became THE ladies' liqueur par excellence for its elegance, smoothness and moderate alcohol content (between 25% and 35%) and it was officially offered to all family gatherings up to being considered a good luck harbinger when drunk by newlyweds.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

OUR lentil loaf

Happy 2018 dear all, our first post of the year was requested by our friend Jan Egan aka The Watchful Cook.
On NYE we made a delicious lentil loaf and after researching for the best recipe, we decided to give it a Piedmont twist by including some Jerusalem artichokes.

Regular Italian artichokes have always been an all time favorite of ours but it is only since a few months we started cooking and eating Jerusalem artichokes too.
Usually Jerusalem artichokes are part of bagna caoda THE Piedmont and family/friends dish, however, they can be cooked in virtually any way and can be eaten raw too.

Apparently their English name derives from the anglicized version of the Italian girasole or sunflower because the Italian immigrants in the US found the plant very similar to the sunflower one.
As for the artichoke part, it is due to their similarity with the regular artichokes, but they really have nothing else in common because "J art" are a tuber like potatoes.

In Italian we call them topinanbour and they come in 2 species, regular and white - the better and more delicate quality.
In the winter particularly, they are a super food as they are packed with potassium, iron, fibers and niacin, consequently they help you purifying your system, are  great option to bananas, give you strength and energy. Moreover, they reduce your cholesterol and regulate your blood pressure. 👌

As their flavor is mild and they can be cooked and roasted, slowly but steadily we are including them in many of our cold weather/comfort food dishes paired with rice, legumes and other vegetables to keep them in good company 😉