Thursday, July 18, 2019

T is for torrone

The 6th edition of Turin Epicurean Capital owes a big GRAZIE to Christina Conte author of Christina's Cucina and a TurinEpi friend and supporter for many years now. In fact, the idea of organizing a wine tour started from her and Kelly Leonardini of Italian At Heart, another TurinEpi supporter and guest.
Not only was TurinEpi19 the most successful edition but we all also got the chance to enjoy Christmas in July!! 
Why? Because Christina expressed the wish to visit a torrone maker while here in Piedmont!!



organic, soft nougat with Piedmont IGP hazelnuts by Giovanni Scalenghe



Unfortunately, we weren't able to arrange a TurinEpi visit to any torrone workshop and getting in touch with an artisan producer was a real Quixotic endeavor... people in Piedmont love to keep a very low profile, and artisan producers in particular, are extremely hard to reach...
However, thanks to Mr Fabio Borio, president of Federalberghi Torino - the Hotel Association 🙏, we were finally able to get in touch with Mr Giovanni Scalenghe THE torrone maker.


only gnomes and Mr Scalenghe can make such a delicious organic soft torrone, by Alberto Bonis

If you are wondering what torrone is, the dictionary will translate it as nougat. Indeed this is the literal translation but the cultural meaning is infused with many images and a rich history!
As Mr Scalenghe put it when speaking on the phone: Italians divide into two categories: nougat lovers and haters. Italians grow up eating torrone during the Holidays and traditionally, we get mini bars in the befana stocking or as a small treat, and long rich torrone lingots to be cut and shared at the Christmas table with our families and friends.




All over the 20 Italian regions, in Spain and France, you will find many nougat variants. In Italy the first records date back to the ancient Rome, when something made with toasted almonds, honey and egg whites was assembled and made into a sweet bar. We can also see the Arab roots in this specialty but ultimately, when Italians learn geography in elementary school, we usually learn that Cremona in Lombardy is the city of torrone. However, as region you go, different torrone ingredients you savor, there is no doubt Piedmont is THE land of torrone morbido or soft torrone with whole hazelnuts.
And a whole bar made by Mr Scalenghe soft torrone was given to the TurinEpi19 guests to try to feel the difference with the other variants they might already know.




This specific soft torrone though is quite special because is made following Mr Scalenghe's nonno or grandfather recipe and it retains all the traditional texture and flavor.
Mr Scalenghe still makes it in the old fashioned manner: using local honey and whole gentle and round hazelnuts from Piedmont - read: the highest quality hazelnuts.


true passion and love are the basic ingredients of Fior di Torrone Scalenghe - by Alberto Bonis

Making torrone isn't easy, it's an art that borders magic, this is why not all the Italian pastry chefs can make it. You need a big electric whisk to make the meringue out of the egg whites, and then you have to know how to cook the honey and sugar, and when and how to fold them into the meringue.

The hazelnuts are folded in by hand and you definitely need some endurance to equally distribute them inside the cooked meringue. Watch the video where Giovanni Scalenghe shows you how he works here (scroll down).
Mr Scalenghe makes his soft torrone in half-moon shaped molds and lets them  to cool down and rest  for 1 or 2 days before cutting it.


organic ingredients and extra green label

A detail that makes a big difference and will conquer your greenest side is its environmentally friendly wrap and its compostable label: you can actually plant it in a pot to give life to new flowers your  neighborhood bees will pollinate to produce new honey for more torrone!




Giovanni Scalenghe inherited his passion and pastry shop from his nonno who opened it in 1954 in Trofarello, in the Turin suburb. They have always used the top ingredients and the nougat we received is actually organic. 
Besides this soft variant they also make the one with Bronte pistacchios from Sicily, almonds from Bari in the Southern Italian panhandle of Apulia, and the dark or gianduja chocolate coated one. 




In 2004, Pasticceria Scalenghe was awarded with the artisan excellence award for its whole production of: pastries, cakes, gelato, torrone, candies and chocolate.
Since 2013 Mr Giovanni Scalenghe is a Slow Food Maestro del Gusto or Taste Master - the top professional title for an artisan producer in Italy.


Enjoying Fior Di Torrone Scalenghe in the nature where it comes from - by Alberto Bonis


Warning: 

Fior di Torrone, soft torrone Scalenghe is highly addictive 😋
As it is produced all year long, we recommend you stock up in XL quantities when you visit both the passticceria or pastry shop in Trofarello and the torrone workshop
This specific nougat makes a great souvenir from Piedmont and everyone will love it, so you may want to buy some extra lingots to keep for yourselves.
In any case, no torrone Scalenghe stash will last too long 😞

You won't even make it to enjoy it coffee, tea, gelato, least say some wine, because as soon as you cut an half inch / one centimeter portion, you'll eat it right away.
Since the very first bite you will feel the hues of the honey and the aroma of the hazelnuts will just fill your palate. Allured and hypnotized you'll cut all the other pieces... this is how your first torrone Scalenghe will finish so quickly 😜




Thank you Mr Scalenghe, for allowing us to feel Christmassy in the summer! It was a real treat, we all went back to our childhood days, like Proust eating his petites Madeleines!

Special thanks to Alberto Bonis for his gorgeous illustrations that fully capture the wholesomeness of Giovanni Scalenghe's soft torrone!






1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, this is such a special torrone, and I have to say, it's the first soft torrone I've loved! I'm a hard torrone girl as that's what I always had growing up and really thought I wouldn't like this, but it's soooo good! Those amazing hazelnuts and real honey? How can you go wrong!?

    Thanks for being persistent in the torrone field, Lucia! I didn't know it would take up so much of your time when I asked about visiting a torrone manufacturer! Grazie mille! :)

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