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!

Patty Boner's multicultural background--Asian (Chinese parents), Latin (brought up in Lima) and European (married to a Swiss-Peruvian for 28 years and based in Switzerland for over 20 years)--has always geared her foodie spirit and her interest in discovering different places.
In Lima she worked as personal assistant and planning conferences and events at the International Potato Center. In Zurich she had jobs as personal assistant in private banks.
Growing up in Peru and being raised in a Chinese family played a major role in her current appreciation of food. Sitting down with the family for most meals was compulsory, now she knows that it was something special. It was a matter of getting together, valuing the flavors but, most importantly, uniting people through food.  She has to confess you that she was the one who spent more hours sitting at the table, because she did not like to eat when she was little …  Fortunately, now that has changed, and she does love food!
Throughout her years in Europe she has been traveling around the world, focusing more and more on foodie spots, searching out new tastes, photographing, enjoying the whole experience.  Since April 2016 she is blogging for those who like to travel and are enthusiasts of good food and wine.
Her husband, her son, and she live in a little city in the Swiss Alps, in a region that produces an amazing Pinot Noir.  This makes her especially lucky, because life is always better with a good glass of wine.

Turin:  Love at First Taste

Mole Antonelliana is the landmark of Turin

The long-awaited, first visit to Turin was a delightful experience.  My write-up focuses on foodie highlights, because that is what I look for in my trips.  In Turin my foodie spirit was absolutely gratified.  This beautiful city was once the first capital of Italy (1861-1865) and today is, without a doubt, worldwide regarded as the capital of slow food.

To see what is going on in Turin as hub of the foodie culture, check these sites:

There are so many food terms related to Turin, e.g., gianduja, white truffles, grissini, Lavazza, Eataly, Vermouth, Pastiglie Leone, Nutella, and, of course, Barolos and Barbarescos!  Turin convinced me that it is a must-visit place for legitimate foodies.

In every café you will find Torinese themselves enjoying of good quality fare, indulging simple pleasures of life like a coffee, chocolate, or ice cream.

Because coffee is so important in Turin, check this interesting article about their coffee culture.
I tasted espressos in three different cafés at the magnificent Piazza San Carlo.

Caffè San Carlo and Caffè Torino are two of the several historic cafés that you will find in Turin; these two are especially rich in tradition. I liked best the espresso at Caffè Mokita although this coffee corner was the simplest house of the three.  It is certainly a matter of personal taste.

A place I can recommend for lodging is La Luna e i Falò.  This B&B bears the name of one of Pavese’s most famous novels (“The Moon and the Bonfires”).  The author lived in this house.

This lovely, well-kept B&B, is located in a nice, quiet area (20-min walk to the city center).  If you do not want to walk, the tram/bus stops are just a couple of blocks away.  Private parking is also available.

The B&B owner kindly contacted me upon arrival.  She is also actively involved in foodie events.
Elena welcomed us with an espresso and a delicious piece of panettone.  Great way to start our stay. Both hostesses, Elena and Gabriela, were really kind and helpful.
The room and bath were impeccable and comfortable.

Breakfast at La Luna e i Falò was a special treat with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, homemade bread and cakes, and artisan jams.

Aperitivo at Pepino's in Piazza Carignano in Turin

Turin would not be Turin without the aperitif (aperitivo); after all, it was invented here.  Aperitif usually runs from 6-9 pm.  It often includes something to nibble and in some places even a buffet.

Pastis – Perfect for an aperitif in the Quadrilatero (Roman quarter) in a casual atmosphere.  It is set as a 1950’s retro bar.  The focaccia and green olives that came with the drinks were really good.

Tre Galli – One of the first ones to open in the Quadrilatero.  This wine bar/restaurant looks like a Parisian bistro.  Their wine list includes 1,200 labels!

Dai Saletta – Located in the San Salvario neighborhod.  This family-run trattoria offers traditional Piedmontese specialties, cooked typically with seasonal ingredients locally grown.  I was glad to find what I expected … including the red and white checkered tablecloths!
We loved the homemade pasta dishes we ordered.
The main courses were charged with tasty flavors of mamma’s kitchen.
To pair a Barolo Boroli 2007.

Caffè Roma già Talmone – Vis-à-vis of the Porta Nuova Station, I had my first pistachio ice cream in Turin.  I found it a bit watery and too sweet but, again, that is certainly all a matter of taste.
Anyway, I have to return to Talmone, because everything displayed looked fresh and delicious.

Caffè Plattì (1875) – This belle-époque café is also near the Porta Nuova Station, on Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II.  We had some drinks and complimentary nibbles.

Caffè Baratti & Milano (1858) – This is another emblematic café, located in the beautiful Galleria Subalpina.  Their chocolate and pastry display looked extraordinary.  I was so amazed that I forgot to take a picture inside--next time …  The right place to get gianduiotti, because they are so good!

Palazzo Carignano in Piazza Carignano

Gelati Pepino (1884) – This ice cream parlor is in the exquisite Piazza Carignano (my favorite in Turin).
They invented the “first gelato in the world to be served on a stick covered by chocolate: Pinguino® - the Penguin”.
I had no chance to try their ice creams but was lucky to be there for the aperitif.
Nice aperitif … great atmosphere …

Ristorante Del Cambio (1757) – Certainly, the highlight of this post.
Not because of its Michelin star, but because it is a gorgeous place to enjoy superb, authentic Piedmontese cuisine, and the chef, Matteo Baronetto, impresses with his innovative ideas. The dazzling staff is attentive, but at the same time easygoing in a way that it makes you feel truly comfortable.

The whole concept is a mix of magnificence and charm; two elements usually difficult to combine. We had our table in their contemporary Sala Pistoletto. The atmosphere there proofs that it is possible.

Read this interesting article “Sleeping Beauty” about this unique restaurant.

Del Cambio walls carry a lot of remarkable history, and one can feel it being there, but it is also nice to see that it is open for el cambio without sacrifying essence.

Their wine list comprises 1,200 labels (of which 140 are champagnes) in 98 pages.  We appreciated the sommelier's outstanding wine recommendation:  Barolo Mascarello Giuseppe e Figlio 2009

A word on the dessert: we ordered what was called Babà in Perù … Yes, in Peru!  I get excited because I was born there.  I was told that they use “ILLANKA”, which is a Peruvian grand cru chocolate, to elaborate this dessert.  The waiter poured a delicious sauce in the middle of the babà. The sauce ended up filling the word "ILLANKA", which had been inscribed on the chocolate disk. The flower petals on top were pure ice cream!
To close up the magic evening, we got a surprise from the kitchen, this time with a candle for the birthday boy.
Del Cambio deserves the recognition it has in the demanding, slow-food capital, and Turin can be very proud of it.

Caffè Fiorio (1780) – On Via Po, close to Piazza Castello.  They have ice cream parlors in different locations.  I asked for “una piccola coppetta di pistacchio”, and what I got was not that small …  I am glad, I indulged; it was delicious.

Pasticceria Abrate (1866) – A few steps from Caffè Fiorio also on Via Po.  A great place at any time of the day (breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea time, aperitif, or early dinner …).  You cross the entrance door, and you have traveled in time.  We were happy to try this neat, historic spot, before leaving Turin

We only had some drinks and hot sandwiches.  The sandwiches were so good that we ordered a second round …  The finger food displayed for the aperitif hour also looked tempting.  The staff was really friendly, and this is what I really appreciate when I eat outside.

As a first timer in Turin, I was also impressed with the interesting spots to discover in the city. 

Making the best out of my time, these were the places I managed to visit:

Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum)

Via Roma (between Piazza Castello and Piazza Carlo Felice) for shopping

Piazza e via Palazzo di Città (Town Hall Square) - Luci d’artista Tappeto Volante (Flying Carpet) and farmers' market

Gran Balon – Turin’s flea market

Still on my pending list:
Gofreria Piemontèisa

If you have not been in Turin yet, add it to your bucket list.  Once you are there, you will love to stay longer or plan to return.


Patty Boner

Follow Patty on her beautiful blog FOODIE SNEAK PEEKS
and have a peek at more of her beautiful Turin pictures here