One of the reasons I went to Turin is because of, what else, food, slow food to be exact. Slow food movement was born in 1986 as a protest against the coming of one Mc Donald’s outlet at the famous Spanish steps in Rome, Italy. Concerned of what might influence Italian eat culture, journalist Carlo Petrini gathered his friends to protest against this fast food invasion. During their rally they shouted ” We don’t want fast food, we want slow food!” Et voila the new culinary term was born.
Since that day slow food has grown to a world-wide culinary movement. It started in Rome and got embodied in Turin with the first Salone del Gusto in 1996. This is biennial international food fair with artisanal products from all over the world. Due to this fair, Turin is now dubbed as the capital of slow food.
What is slow food? Slow food is a way of life. It is a philosophy. Slow food is about taking pleasure in preparing and eating the food prepared with love and respect for the ingredients and the process. Slow food focusses on enjoying the freshest local ingredients from local food producers and preserving and celebrating local culinary traditions. I believe now you get the picture of why my husband chose Turin as our autumn break destination to surprise me.
Enough of this explanation. Now I just want to share pictures of food and drinks I devoured there.
Caffè Al Bicerin
As recommended by my host, I went to one of the oldest cafes in the city to drink Bicerin, a typical Torinese chocolate drink. It consists of layers of liquid dark chocolate, espresso and fluffy cream. Surprisingly it tastes light.
Bicerin was invented in 1763 in this cafe that bears the same name. Caffè Al Bicerin is located in Piazza de la Consolata. It is an institution. I imagine that it barely has changed since the opening almost three centuries ago.
This is the pastry corner with antique cookie tins, real antique not the pseudo prop vintage. Tourists and locals come here. I was lucky when I was there I could get a seat easily.
Turin is capital of Piemonte province. This region is well-known for vitello tonato, eggy full pasta, truffle and red wines (Barolo, Barbera & Barbaresca), aperitivo. A tip for Italian first timers; take the pranzo (lunch) arrangement which allows you to order one dish, half a liter wine and coffee/tea afterwards. Such lunch menu is also normal in other mediterranean countries like Portugal and Spain but I found the price in Turin to be very affordable. Most of the pranzo I had cost € 7 – € 8, compared to the prices I paid in Portugal and Spain for similar menu at € 10 and up. These are some of my pranzos.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca: Spaghetti with anchovies, tuna, black olive in tomato sauce. That day I got Barolo wine to accompany the pasta.
And this was the dolce (dessert): an almond sponge cake on the bottom and hazelnut chocolate tart.
One rainy day I ordered Risotto ai Funghi with Porcini mushroom. That fresh sprig Rosemary was so aromatic.
One evening I had this good old bruschetta as starter. Pardon the low quality image. I didn’t bring my DSLR camera with me to dinner as I didn’t want to intrude other guests and most of all I wanted to fully experience the slow food.
This looks like tortellini but Piemontese people call this agnolotti; dumplings with tender meat filling. The fresh sage on top added a kick to this simple dish.
This is another Piemontese specialty which Italian name I forgot; baked potato with melted cheese and sausage.
The plate of cold cuts and crisps on the side.
The cosy interior of one trattoria I visited. I love the medieval brick ceilings and the fresh colour tones.
I leave you with dolci, desserts, sweets. This is gianduia ice cream. Gianduia is a Turin specialty, chocolate hazelnut spread which was invented during Napoleon administration. Italian most imported spread, Nutella, is actually gianduia.
I hope I succeeded in bringing the love for slow food in the picture here. Until the next culinary destination.