Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bailey Alexander's gothic life in Piedmont

We finish 2014 with Bailey Alexander's amazing guest post to share with you our love for Piedmont!

Bailey Alexander is a freelance writer, travel essayist, gardener and Piemonte enthusiast. Prior life was spent directing corporate fashion shows and professional drag extravaganzas, then building a large IT consulting firm in Seattle before making the dramatic decision to move our entire life across the pond. We packed our home, sent 200 boxes on a container and I, along with my husband and 2 small dogs set sail aboard our sailboat in 2002. We proceeded to spend a nomadic decade in Rome, Paris, Malta, Amsterdam, Prague, Bucharest, along with 6 months spent living aboard our boat in Lignano Sabbiadoro, near Venice. Our finest decision was settling down and buying a home in Piemonte. I’ve written profile pieces in slick, glossy magazines, my travel essays are available on Amazon and my first novel will be published in 2015. Having lived in so many countries has altered my mind, living in Piemonte has altered my heart!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Asti Docg aka Spumante

Asti Docg label by Romano Levi

Asti Docg or more commonly Spumante as it is usually called in Italy, is the sparkling sweet wine par excellence!
It is made of Moscato bianco grapes and it is low in alcohol; in fact, unlike champagne, its bubbles are produced in a single tank fermentation following the Charmat method. Its sweetness is retained through a complex filtration process. 
The same wine region produces another sweet wine with the same Moscato bianco grapes: Moscato d'Asti which is only slightly frizzante or sparkling. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Soul Kitchen: eating vegan in Turin

Despite the stereotype, eating vegan and raw in Italy is getting more and more popular, even in a city like Turin and a region like Piedmont, where in a way or another, some animal products are almost always included in the restaurant menus and family diets.
Following a dear friend's suggestion, back in September we had the chance to meet Luca, the owner of Soul Kitchen: THE vegan restaurant par excellence in Turin! 
In fact, this restaurant is now synonym of vegan cuisine here.

Spaghetti, zucchini, mint, basil, avocado and cherry tomatoes

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Adriana Delfino and her tactile fashion sense

2014 Fashion Friday closes with Adriana Delfino and her passion for fashion, history of fashion and fashion critique. 
A Turin fashion designer, fashion professor and blogger, Adriana designed the Sar.To fashion event with the floating bubbles together with Walter Dang to celebrate Turin fashion designers and Turin's creativity.
We met her in her downtown studio and got to listen to her life, career and fashion philosophy. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lessona Doc THE wine of Italy

Lessona Doc Label
This week we're talking about Lessona the smallest DOC which is produced solely in the Lessona area. Lessona is a tiny village near Biella, where Ermenegildo Zegna is based and it is about 1h driving north from Turin.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Elaine Schoch's fun facts about Turin

Elaine Schoch is a recovering corporate climber. She began writing Carpe Travel after leaving the corporate world to try to gain a better work life balance. Her writings at Carpe Travel focus on balancing life and work with her passions – traveling (with kids) and discovering new wines from regions around the world. She’s married to “The Husband” and has two little Princesses. You’d think her traveling days would have slowed down with two kids in tow, on the contrary, Elaine is determined to show them the world. The Princesses have already become two very well travelled little people who have been earning miles and status before the ripe age of three-years-old. You can find Elaine’s travel tales, musings and tips on Carpe Travel. Or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Christmas brunch in Turin

The December 8th long week-end in Italy marks the beginning of the Christmas celebrations, many people take advantage of it to travel and start their Christmas shopping. As for us, we stayed in Turin and did it again: we took Miss Bee at her word and happily accepted the invitation to her Christmas brunch!

By now, we know that Miss Bee is a great host and a very skilled cook, which is why we refer to her as home chef. She literally puts her heart in her food and always stages her table with passion. As Miss Bee is particularly fond of Christmas she had been designing the menu for weeks and ultimately served us a real full meal, rather than just a simple brunch. 

We started with a delicious cocktail, a reminiscence of Miss Bee's London years: Pimm's with berries, pomegranate seeds, mint leaves and cucumber, that we sipped from a Christmassy straw in cute country style glass jars.
While waiting for our coffees and teas, we started munching on the apple, cinnamon and hazelnut muffins, the berry minced pies and her gourmet artichoke and two goat cheese quiches:P 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dolce Elena: a Turinese in the UK

Elena Serrajotto Johnson was born and raised in Turin, Italy where she graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures. She moved to the UK to complete her graduate studies. Following her passion for baking, she now sells her cookies and Turin pastries around England to share the flavors of her hometown.

Turin, Piazza Castello

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dancing models for a photography exhibition

The first Fashion Friday of December in Turin marked the beginning of an open air photography exhibition, in the central San Federico gallery, near Piazza San Carlo. This exhibition is part of Sar.To - the bubble installation that celebrates Turin fashion and its designers. Once again, Turin fashion designer Walter Dang wanted to honor local fashion designers, photographers and 25 Turinese celebrities with a series of black and white pictures mounted on doors. on the door knob there's a tag indicating the name of the photographer and its subject.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Alta Langa Docg the wine with its own glass

Today we're talking about Alta Langa DOCG in all its variants!
This wine takes the name from the Langhe wine district - now a Unesco world heritage site! - is a hilly region within Piedmont, near the Alba province, south of Turin.
Alta Langa Docg production area in Piedmont
Alta Langa DOCG: the Piedmont pride!

Monday, December 1, 2014

#TT T-day in Turin

As many US expats must have experienced by now, abroad there is no Thanksgiving Day... and Italy is no exception therefore, we tend to celebrate it during the week-end...yeah, not the same, we agree, both ingredients and flavors slightly change too, yet it is still pretty awesome that we can take the time to be thankful and share food with some really good friends when away from our families.

In Turin, we took the week to visit a couple of the many events that take part in the last of November and totally devoted our Saturday to the Thanksgiving Day dinner!
In fact, our team is extremely lucky because Benedetta Oggero - aka Miss Bee is a good friend and collaborator AND she has a BIG passion for cooking and eating, so she had us all at her place!
Miss Bee proudly showing her 8.5 kg/18.7lb turkey

Benedetta inehrited her cooking passion and culinary dexterity from her mom. In fact, she grew up in a home where friends and family members were always felt welcomed to eat, and food in its more convivial aspect has always been part of her life, even when she moved to London. Getting to know the ingredients' origin, and how they are made, selecting the sellers - sometimes also befriending them to secure the best products! - designing menus, pairing the right flavors and styling a table are all Benedetta's favorite time in her busy week.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

5 things to do in Turin in November

Turin and Piedmont offer many things to do all year long but in November right when you would think nothing exciting is going on it is actually a great time to come over and enjoy this beautiful side of Italy.

4 special events are concentrated in the last 10 days of November making of Turin the ideal destination for those who feel like to spend the Thanksgiving week abroad.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Roero DOCG an evocative wine

Roero Docg

As a wine, Roero is fragrant, perfumed and elegant.
It is of an appealing deep ruby red and its flavors are rather evocative!
Its dry and warm bouquet almost becomes velvety making it an ideal wine for many dishes.
Its noninvasive structure and limited tannins allow us to pair it also with flavorful dishes.
In order to produce the DOCG variant, Roero must age 1 year in good quality wood barriques.

Roero variants

By law, Roero wine must be made with at least 95% of Nebbiolo wine and 5% of other indigenous grapes.

Regular Roero wine must be aged for 20 months, starting on November 1 of the harvest year. For 6 month it should be aged in woods.

In order to gain the RISERVA status, it must be aged for 12 additional months.

Both variants have a 12.5% of alcohol content.

Monday, November 24, 2014

1670 cellar with wine tasting :P

1670 brick cellar where the barriques rest at 16C/60F
Yes, we did it again: we went to the Roero wine district to visit our friend Giovanni Negro and his family at their wine estate.
Initially, we had meant to take pictures of the vineyard covered hills because in the Fall the vines show all sorts of bright yellows, oranges, copper reds to auburns, depending if they are Arneis, Nebbiolo or Dolcetto vines.
However, we have been having an exceptionally rainy November and the leaves fell so we took advantage and visited the winery cantina - cellar and the animals we hadn't already met: horses, goats and geese.

Nowadays the Negro wine estate covers 27 properties and anytime we go, the landscape is simply breathtaking as no matter where you look at, all the hills belong to the Negro family! What we particularly like though, is the connection to their land this wine making family feels, in fact, they also have a vegetable garden, farm animals and most importantly, they use their own humus instead of chemical fertilizer!

As we entered the winery, Giovanni, the owner invited us to go on a tour of the newly restored cellar, he was so proud, he told us right away that the stones and all the bricks we saw where original pieces from the very first building!!
We totally shared his enthusiasm since this winery dates back to 1670 and it's located on a sandy hill so, giving it its current shape was quite a task!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Alberto Lusona's refined elegance

Alberto Lusona is one of the Turin fashion designers who's taking part to Sar.To (in Italian sarto means tailor and To is short for Torino, Turin's Italian name), an exhibit where art and fashion meet in one of the most theatrical places downtown.
This exhibit consists of 9 perspex bubbles containing one dress or fashion piece by each of the participating local designers and Alberto Lusona's stunning white dress is the first and also the most striking one of the series.
It couldn't be otherwise since his style fully reflects his highly creative personality and very skilled hands. After the Sar.To inauration, we had a chat with him to get to know him better and to find how how he works.

Alberto Lusona was born in Turin to an "explosive couple": a Neapolitan mother and a Piedmontese father. To native Italians this detail is already a big indicator of the atmosphere where Alberto grew up in, as Neapolitans are nationally renowned for being spontaneous, creative, sometimes messy, but always with a strong sense of art, while Piedmontese are stereotypically known for their hardworking ethic, professionalism and rigor. In this environment Alberto started his fashion career at age 9 when Santa finally answered his prayers and brought him a Ricky doll. He had longed for it for over 6 months and finally on Christmas Eve, after unwrapping the box, he started making Ricky a jacket!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bramaterra DOC

Bramaterra DOC label

Bramaterra can easily be considered the intro to the Nebbiolo variety. It is produced on the western hills where by Ghemme, Gattinara and Boca are made, in the Novara area, in N. Piedmont.
On this side of the region the Nebbiolo based reds are lighter and fresher than their S. Piedmont counterparts.
Because of the pre-alpine climate, the Nebbiolo distinctive tannins can't fully ripen and the over-all taste isn't always pleasant; therefore, the government regulations of DOC wines allow a blend of up to 30% of Croatina and up to 20% of Uva Rara or Vespolina (genetically related to Nebbiolo).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Venaria aka Turin's Versailles

Piedmont equals wines, castles and chocolate, we'll never get tired to repeat it, and wherever you are in our beautiful region, you'll always enjoy our rich and velvety chocolate and our wines will get an extra flavor when sipped in one of our castles.
What about Turin, then? Do we have castles and vineyards here too?? Actually yes, we do!
In fact, Turin's vineyard at Villa della Regina - the Queen's Villa is the largest European urban vineyard, and we also have a teeny tiny one, right in the historical city center, in Piazza Emanuele Filiberto, as part of a local green project of urban farming.
As for castles, we have quite a number, both in Turin and in the suburb; simply put, since the 16th century, our kings enjoyed their lives and the area so much, they had different palaces for different occasions, and definitely, one of the most spectacular is the Royal Palace of Venaria.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lingotto: the Italian Motown symbol

Many things make Turin famous and many are the areas around town that deserve a visit. The elegant city center, Porta Palazzo market, the Roman ruins, any one of the royal palaces, not to mention the many amazing museums. However, in Turin there's an area that symbolizes the industrial past of the city: the Lingotto.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boca DOC and its scent of violets, spices and pomegranates

This week we are talking about Boca a DOC red wine from the Novara area, in High Piedmont just a little bit north of the Ghemme and Gattinara zones. This is the first area of Piedmont you visit when coming from Milan and it's now the main production area of Gorgonzola cheese and of the Italian rice paddies.  
Boca DOC production area

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Turin's Oriental Art Museum

Besides being the very first Italian capital, Turin has always been a leading and trendy city in Italy.
Many national symbols like sport, fashion, automobile industry, cinema and Eataly were born right in this city, where you can also find a number of unique museums, collections, regular exhibits and big events.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Manuela Gomez eternal accessories

Accessories are one of those details that can really define our personality and at the same time dress us up or down according to the occasion. We first met Manuela Gomez, THE Turin shoe designer and photographer, a couple of years ago at the Turin fashion week where she presented her boot collection and artisanal pumps.
Amazed by her unique style, we started to ask her about her life and very personal style and today, after recently meeting with Manuela again, we're presenting her as one of the designers of the very creative Turin fashion scene!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pelaverga: tiny precious wine

This week we're presenting a wine from an extremely small production: Pelaverga.
It is produced in incredible small amounts in the Verduno and Saluzzo areas. Verduno is near Barolo and Saluzzo is located a bit farther, on the Alps foothills. 

Verduno production area in Piedmont (n.12)

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Ceretto sense of terroir

As real Italian wine country, picking up a winery in Piedmont is definitely a piece of cake: just drive about 45 minutes out of Turin and follow your heart!
When we went truffle hunting near Alba and then to the Truffle Fair, we just couldn't resist and went to the renowned Ceretto Winery.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Truffles and dogs

Every season of the year there are many interesting things to do and see in Piedmont, Fall for example means: harvest, palio and truffles and Alba, in the Langhe wine district, is the official white truffle hub thanks to its international fair.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Moscato d'Asti Docg

The Halloween week marks the beginning of a series of celebrations and what's a better wine to toast on than the amazing Moscato d'Asti Docg??

Monday, October 27, 2014

Karen Rossi's Turin memories

Karen Rossi, a digital friend of ours from Boston, has very kindly accepted to type down her memories of Turin when she was studying abroad!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Walter Dang and his ode to the woman

A couple of days ago we sat down with Walter Dang for an informal chat about what’s really behind his fashion and his creative process.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Turin's green soul

The agriculture and tourism offices of the Piedmont regional government have put together an interesting itinerary that highlights the urban gardens in Turin and its suburbs.
This is a great occasion to see how the city is embracing new trends and reacting to the population needs. Some of the points of this itinerary are already well known to the city residents as they are already part of their lives, others came as a total surprise.

see the farmer got the cover of a Japanese magazine!
Starting from the city, the first lag in our exploration of Turin's green soul was the farmers' section of the Porta Palazzo Market in the Borgo Dora neighborhood. Unlike the rest of the market, in this section the farmers directly sell what they grow or make, being produce or cheese. One of the farmers is so picturesque that international TV stations and journalists made him into a real celebrity!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Peace arsenal & writing school

Just like the kitchen is the beating heart of any Italian house, Turin's kitchen is in the Porta Palazzo Market, the largest open air market of Europe, located right down-town  and where all the different cultural groups meet daily to shop. Not only the larger streets leading to the market such as Via Garibaldi, the hipster tiny piazzas, where the locals go for a drink and an apericena (tapas like meal), but also the lanes around the market hide a lot of interesting things.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Around the market

the lanes of the Balon flea market behind the Porta Palazzo market

Via Garibaldi with the Christmas lights

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Porta Palazzo market

Porta Palazzo market in Turin is the largest open-air market in Europe! 
Giuseppe Culicchia, who was our guest at Turin Epicurean Capital 2014 as a representative Turin author, wrote in his book Torino e' casa mia or Turin is my home, that the Porta Palazzo market is actually Turin's kitchen.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Royal Harvest in Turin

It is that time of the year when Piedmont becomes popular especially among the world's wine lovers: the harvest. And Turin being one of the very few cities in the world to have a urban vineyard surely makes it a special destination!
Last week it was harvest week-end at the Unesco World Heritage Site Villa della Regina or the Queen's Villa so we decided to go and take a peek.

Turin seen from Villa della Regina during the harvest

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Slow Food Market of the Earth

It's been now a few years that in Turin and in Piedmont Slow Food organizes an Market of the Earth or Mercato della Terra, as we say in Italian. Having met Leo Rieser, the organizer of the Market of the Earth in Turin, we decided to go and take a peek ourselves.

Val di Susa honeys, jams and preserves

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gabiano DOC

Like Rubino di Cantavenna, Gabiano is another extremely limited production from the Monferrato area. Gabiano is actually also the name of the municipality where the vineyards are.

Monferrato wine productions 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

a day trip to Canale d'Alba

A couple of week-ends ago we accompanied Mara LeGrand to the Roero wine district, here in Piedmont to shoot and take some pictures of the vineyards, the hills and the gardens. We were lucky to enjoy a sunny day with an amazing light; we rode on small state roads to accommodate Mara's requests to slow down and shoot while driving by a cornfield or stop, get off and take a picture of a medieval hamlet on the top of a hill. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Barbera: the Cindarella of the reds

Barbera is the quintessential wine of the people, this is the Piedmontese vine par excellence! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Piedmont rice paddies

Whenever we think of rice, we instantly think of Asia however, risotto is a typical Piedmontese specialty. So, how come in carb and gluten obsessed Italy, there's a whole cultural area where people are so fond of rice to invent risotto?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Madernassa Pear: the Roero symbol

Madernassa tree on the Negro wine estate in Canale
In August, we went to Guarene, in the Roero wine district, to meet with our winemaker friend Giuseppino Anfossi who, after intrucing us to his amazing Arneis DOCG, drove us to Osteria La Madernassa where we met the Herbalist chef, Michelangelo Mammoliti and had a peek through his very creative mind.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bees in Turin's heart

UrBees: "our revolution! We help bees to survive in our cities with us"

Bees, tiny and so precious, yet many people aren't aware they are disappearing from many countries.
Just like New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris, Turin has urban bees too as I found it out in May when visiting the Royal Palace of Venaria and stopped at the UrBees stall.

Monday, September 15, 2014

TurinEpi day3 and goodbye apericena

Very quickly we got to our third and last day of Turin Epicurean Capital 2014
The round table facilitatator, Paolo Rigiroli decided to keep up the convivial atmosphere with the aid of the table. 
This third set of speakers included: famous Italian author Margherita Oggero - naturally a native of Turin, Elena Chesta Schwarz better known as comidademama foodblog, Italiankiwi author Lisa Watson literally married to Turin even though she now resides in Southern France, TV celebrity chef and foodblogger Nicole Cappa, and bloggers Valerie Quintanilla and Darryl Baldwin who both made of Piedmont their new home!

Friday, September 12, 2014

TurinEpi day 2 and cooking class

For our second day of Turin Epicurean Capital 2014, the facilitator, Paolo Rigiroli requested a table to enhance the round table and food atmosphere. It was definitely a great idea since the interaction among all the speakers was so sparkling; in fact, at some point, even the interpreters were involved in the chat as you can see above.