The second day of Turin Epicurean Capital 2016 took started with the morning round table hosted by Sonia Castañeda Piacente, sitting in the far right in the picture below.
From left to right: Marcello Oliviero, Eleanor Fletcher and Sue Hepburn. The interpreters from left to right: Dalila Brancone, Carlotta Rinaudo and Anna Zammarchi.
This round table had guests from four different countries: Italy, Australia, the UK and the USA, with different backgrounds and experiences and yet something in common: two are currently residing in Turin and two are now living and making business in the Langhe wine district, in Piedmont.
Turin author Marcello Oliviero accepted to take part to Turin Epicurean Capital to share his +10 year of vegetarian life style. A serious carnivore he converted to vegetarianism in a moment of poor health, stress and crisis without realizing how such a simple change would upset the eating habits of his whole family who suddenly were forced to modify their menus to accommodate his dietary needs.
Becoming a vegetarian gave Marcello a whole new perspective on life and food, its origin and his making processes. With this new awareness he would never go back to his prior carnivorous status because he is feeling much better and happier. He also underlined how Italians are lucky to have access to fresh seasonal and local food and how easy it is to track back the origin of our food.
Sue Hepburn shared her discovery of seasonal food in Italy. After spending years around the world, Sue and her family moved to a truffle farm in the Langhe hills, in Dogliani on the Unesco wine hills. Before coming to Italy her food awareness was awaken by the birth of her kids and the need to provide good quality food, however it was only in Piedmont that she re-discovered old flavors and the authenticity of natural foods. Shopping at the local market and following the seasonal cycles has literally started a new life style. Moreover working with the land and homeschooling her life has quite changed at all levels. Surprisingly to many Italians, a food that has grown on her over the years in Italy is pasta. Before her Italian life, she hated pasta the way it was cooked out of Italy. Now she craves it and loves that nice Parmesan cheese sprinkle that adds that extra flavor to the dish!
Like many of us, Eleanor Fletcher never really paid attention to food till she met her wine making husband at the university. Working in the vineyard, in contact with the soil and the vines, he had a deep sense of what nature gives us. She added that living in Australia people are often quite spoiled because they have access to high quality food, fresh produce and great fruit, however, moving to Italy she discovered new varieties of tomatoes and new ways of cooking vegetables, like zucchini that she had never had before. Pasta was a great addition to her diet too, not only because it is rather quick to fix but also for its versatility and naturally, flavor! Her first hand life experience is one of the things that she aims to share with non-Italian customers here in Piedmont.
An adopted Turinese from Dallas, TX, Sonia Castañeda Piacente shared her expat and blogger experience. As a Latina growing up in the USA food has also carried a cultural value, the same one she is now transmitting and sharing with her bicultural girls.
In Italy, her transition from fully processed food to the market bought ingredients resulted in a major weight loss during her first year in Turin: Sonia lost 20lb! Cooking from scratch on a daily basis and having an Italian husband has quickly given her the Italian mentality and the need of seasonality and simple preparations.
At the beginning, these were the stages she was documenting on her blogs; now, she believes in the educational power of Social Media that not only can be used to create a community, but can also show what ingredients to look for and how to use them.
After the round table, we took advantage of the walking distance between the San Giuseppe theater and one of the royal coffee shops in down town Turin: Caffè Fiorio, in Via Po.
Despite its central location and history, Caffè Fiorio has quite a large and affordable buffet and menu, plus its famous gelato - once the best in town, and still very very delicious!
Yes in Turin 15 Euros go a long way, not only for apericena!
So this is how we spent two hours in the cool shade, under a crystal chandelier, chatting and eating before heading off to the Turin Epicurean Capital cooking class about Piedmont cuisine twisted with the Tastinglife's spices, at the Associazione Cuochi Torino.