Saturday, June 30, 2018

TurinEpi18 day 2

The second day of the fifth edition of Turin Epicurean Capital started with a quick tour of the Roman lanes and a coffee stop at Al Bicerin for the ultimate Turin coffee experience!
Our guests took advantage to visit the Bicerin chocolate shop and the beautifully renovated Consolata Sanctuary right in front of the coffee shop.
Then, we proceeded through the Roman lanes toward the Porta Palazzo market aka the largest outdoor market in Europe!
It was an intense foodie morning, the market was busy and full of colors; our guests could see the different sections of the market: produce with the egg stall where you can buy quail, goose and different varieties of Italian hen eggs; the covered deli section with the butchers and 'gastronomia' counters. We then walked through the farmers' section and stopped at the cheese stall of an artisan cheesemonger who makes his own toma cheeses high up in the mountains. Finally, we walked through the clothes section with African and Chinese vendors into the covered fish section.

Chef Marco Giachello and Jan Egan on the left, Andrew Dunne, Clare Reed and Georgie Knaggs on the right

From the market we walked to our restaurant in the Quadrilatero Romano, the area where the ancient Romans made their military camp. We did want to give our guests the feeling of eating in one of the trendy areas of Turin and not knowing what they might feel like having we picked Arsenico e Vecchi Merletti - a ristorante pizzeria with a wood oven, an excellent wine list, great desserts and many options: traditonal local specialties, Sicilian and fish dishes, lots of pizzas and focaccias!

As Chef Marco Giachello, a TurinEpi supporter since 2014 (click here to see what Marco had prepared for the TurinEpi14 apericena!) couldn't make it for our cooking class, he joined us for lunch and explained us about the different pasta shapes included in the menu and the different varieties of rice, one of the staple foods here in Piedmont. He also told us about the local specialties, starting from the meats: slowly braised in wine, inside our agnolotti - traditional meat-filled raviolis, and served cold as an appetizer in vitello tonnato: thinly sliced and topped with a tuna flavored mayo!
Naturally, all the local specialties are served with our many local wines 💃
The cheeses naturally play a great role in our local menu too, as Piedmont is the largest Italian cheese producer and the second in Europe for cheese types!!
Vegetables and fruits also play a great part in our diet, and Marco reminded us how all our ingredients follow the seasons and are locally produced!
What's more interesting than talking food with a local chef??

Photo by Alberto Bonis

In the afternoon we all met back at De La Salle Teatro San Giuseppe for the second talk show directed by Georgie Knagg of The Phraser with Andrew Dunne of Piemonte Deli and Elfin Waters of All About Italian.

Georgie started by asking Andrew about what makes Italian food so special and he replied with one word: quality! This simple word to him also translates into a very practical marketing concept and it eases his mission  - sharing the best products of his neighbor local producers abroad.
He said that world consumers know the Italian quality and look for it, especially in Ireland every one know about how Italians are passionate about their food and wine through the quality of their products.

Lucia Hannau introducing Georgie Knaggs, Elfin Waters, Andrew Dunne. Photo by Alberto Bonis

Elfin told us about her mission: sharing the Italian language and culture with fellow Americans and English speakers in general because they are often too self-conscious to speak the language.
She is a certified ESL teacher who turned into an online Italian L2 teacher after an accident that forced to work from home. As she moved from the classroom to online teaching, she quickly realized how great the demand to learn Italian was.
Elfin Waters. Photo by Alberto Bonis
It is always quite surprising for an Italian to hear about how much our language is loved abroad and how the Italian idioms reflect those cultural traits most cultures envy us 😎
Thinking about her American dad who had always struggled speaking Italian and who felt shy to speak, Elfin is now helping all non-Italian native speakers feeling confident.
Naturally, switching from ESL to teaching Italian made her reconsider many cultural aspects that she had always taken for granted like taking the time to cook, sit down at the table and eat everyday.
Finally, thanks to her job, she can now look at Italy through the eyes of a foreigner and thanks to her Instagram account she can read about her followers' dreams and passions too.

Back to Andrew, Georgie asked him about his business plans for the future as he is currently working with the UK and Ireland where he places some of the wines made in the Langhe, round and gentle hazelnuts and artisan chocolate! In ten years he hopes to expand his online business to Germany and other European countries, including more producers to return Piedmont all the happiness he received.
Andrew Dunne. Photo by Alberto Bonis
Listening to Andrew you can easily tell about his passion for great wine and high quality products, however the most fascinating part are the family stories he can tell you about the producers he is helping selling abroad.
About online business Elfin commented that most Italians have no clue about this concept but most other cultures know exactly what it is!

As the Slow Food movement was born right here in Piedmont, Georgie asked Andrew about his opinion and he explained that as our region is so rich in very high quality, working with the Slow Food groups of producers (consortia) can be very complicated, especially for somebody who tries to help the single producers selling abroad.

Food memories was another interesting topic as Elfin's father was from the South of the US and her mom is Italian, so her table had always a great mix of dishes. To define Italian food, she thinks about two adjectives: traditional and localized because the Italians' ideal is always to eat their local specialties the way their mom used to make it! And don't you dare and make any changes because you won't be well received!
Georgie Knaggs
Andrew noticed this characteristic too in all the menus of the same areas where basically other food options don't even make it to the table!
In his case, he grew up with the Italian food had access to in Ireland and his Scottish mom was a great cook and she is responsible for sparking his love for food.

This talk show finished with wines and wine anecdotes. Andrew quickly listed some of the wines he particularly loves from Piedmont and that unfortunately you can't easily find abroad: Dolcetto or the breakfast wine because it is quite usual to have a red wine from Piedmont with only 11% alcohol content; Gavi, especially the 20% still made by small producers; Roero and naturally Arneis!
Speaking about industrial wines, Elfin recalled how an old Lambrusco producer in Emilia Romagna used to remind his grandchildren to use real grapes too to make wine.

Our second day finished with a drink and some munchies in the conservatory piazza.
Besides, sharing the city and talking food, wine, travel and languages, Turin Epicurean Capital aims to connect all the guests and start new friendships and collaborations too. and what a better occasion to finally sit down, in an Italian piazza, at sunset for a spritz, vermouth, prosecco or cocktail, some nibbles and a chat?

the TurinEpi18 guests chatting after the second talk show. Photo by Alberto Bonis

Conviviality is definitely one of the most appreciated aspects of our event!

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