Wednesday, July 4, 2018

TurinEpi18 talk show 3 and dinner

For the third talk show of the fifth edition of Turin Epicurean Capital, food historian Francine Segan directed Kelly Strobel and Alberto Semenzato of Italian At Heart and Clare Reed of Piemonte Dreams.

Lucia Hannau introducing: Alberto Semenzato, Kelly Strobel, Clare Reed and Francine Segan. Photo by Alberto Bonis

Hazelnuts was the first topic Francine inquired about. As Clare moved to Piedmont in 2016 and has a small hazelnut grove, Francine asked her how she got into hazelnuts - a Piedmont's culinary pride and joy. Clare explained that at first both Andrew Dunne and her had dreamed of starting a vineyard however, Italian regulations are rather strict so they couldn't and rather they went for planting their grove.
What's not to love about our Piedmont round and gentle hazelnuts?? Kelly commented you can recognize them in our local gelato and Alberto simply adores our gianduia chocolate.

Clare Reed
Francine explained how during the Napoleonic wars, Piedmont underwent a cocoa shortage and the local producers started adding chopped hazelnuts and hazelnut paste to our locally produced chocolates and that's how gianduia originated!

Back to Clare, the one thing she is really taking advantage of her life in the Piedmont wine country is her garden. She said she has always had a vegetable garden everywhere in the world she has lived but  only here she is growing certain vegetables, like artichokes and herbs that back in Dublin just didn't pick up due to the weather.
Naturally, the beauty of her hazelnut grove is that she can also press the traditional hazelnut oil not so used anymore in Italy, yet full of nutrients and great on salads!

Moving on to food shocks, Alberto said that when he studied abroad in the US, seeing that pasta was being served right by the meat, in the same dish really upset him because in Italy, our menu has courses and each one is served separately in its own plate.

Alberto Semenzato
Food memories was another topic for Clare who remembered how she grew up in the UK in an area with many Sicilian immigrants so authentic Italian food was always at hand.

Thinking about the staple Piedmont food Alberto commented that the first thing he thinks about is Barolo wine, the king of Italian reds. Kelly added that to her, Barolo brings her down memory lane because this wine's rich scents reminds her of the ginger crinkle cookies her mom has always made for Christmas!

In terms of comfort food, Alberto lit up talking about his regional bigoli pasta or thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole inside to allow the sauce in. His favorite version is handmade with a crank machine 'il torchio'  and served with anchovies and onions.

Kelly Strobel

The use of Social Media has been playing an always growing role in our lives, all the TurinEpi guests were contacted via Twitter or Instagram and they have been following each other.
Kelly whose love story with Turin started in 2005 while studying abroad took advantage of our invitation to see all the areas that back then were closed to the public for the constructions of the Winter Olympic Games.
So many things have changed in how we eat and travel. While Clare is not so fond of them and uses mainly Twitter, Kelly said she likes Instagram and how you can quickly connect and network.
On the other hand though, the IG pictures often distort our reality, showing things, like food out of our daily look, requiring many bloggers to hire or become a foodstylist.
Alberto agreed with Kelly and added that in the growing effort of showing the perfect dish, we have lost the pleasure of savoring food. He added that when you look at the 1950s food pictures, food looked good because it was a lot in quantity but now, if you pay attention, we tend to plate and photograph small amounts to favor proportions and colors.
Conviviality is another vital ingredient we are losing: the pleasure of being together at the table and talking while eating. This is happening in Italy too where most people still cook on a daily basis and whole families eat together regularly.

Francine Segan

Historic coffee shops, Turin's bicerin coffee drink made with chocolate, espresso and frothed milk was the following topic Francine asked about.

Kelly said that her first impression of our local royal coffee shops was very intimidating and that she didn't appreciate the strong flavor of our espresso but little by little starting from a cappuccino break, where cappuccino was always served in a real cup, our coffee habit has grown on her right here in Turin.
In her opinion our royal coffee shops are the most beautiful in the world thanks to their lavish decor made of wood panels and crystal chandeliers. Sitting down at Al Bicerin is like walking in the past!

Interestingly, Alberto told us that in Veneto, his region on the other side of Northern Italy, the coffee rite is exactly the opposite. Coffee equals to a quick sip at the bar and go. Our all Turinese love for coffee is one of the very first things he noticed coming over for Turin Epicurean Capital 2018.

As this fifth edition talk show got to the end we all waiting for our dinner in the piazza enjoying a drink sitting in a café like all the locals do!
Somebody got a spritz, others a traditional vermouth born right here in Turin in 1786 and then we walked to the restaurant where conviviality was indeed our main ingredient together with the food!

relaxing and chatting with a drink after the third talk show

Somebody enjoyed a pizza, others a salad and somebody else the artisan pasta.
As the sun went down, our plates and glasses were empty, knowing we'll keep in touch and we said: good-bye, see you next year for TurinEpi19!

TurinEpi18 good-bye dinner

Thank you all for joining us and enjoying our Turin vidaroyal!!

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