I was in Turin yesterday and I couldn’t help but poke my nose into some of the beautiful historic cafes under the elegant portici in Piazza Castello.
Cafe Mulassano is perhaps the oldest cafes in Turin. This liberty-style gem was opened in 1907 and offered a place for writers such as Guido Gozzano to find inspiration in the daily of the Torinesi.
Just around the corner, Baretti e Milano offers an elegant retreat from the bustle of the traffic. The first time I had tea here I felt like I had fallen back in time. I always dreamed of taking my grandmother here to nibble on little sandwiches and sip from elegant china. This cafe was renovated a few years ago, but luckily they changed very little.
There are many other historic cafes in Turin (Platti, Fiorio, il Bicherin and more). These are small pieces of the city’s living history. They remind us of more gentile times but they are also important places for social life in the city. The culture of coffee and sweets is alive and well in Turin.
I had one of the best afternoons I have had in a long time. Annette, a graduating student at UNISG, came and picked me to take me to where she is currently working–il laboratorio di resistenza dolciaria. From the first time she pronounced the name of this magic place I was intrigued. The name literally means the workshop of the sweet resistance and it is a pastry shop and bakery in Alba. This place is a statement against industrial sweets and Kinder snacks.
I jumped at the opportunity to meet Federico and experience this place first hand. After about ten minutes I was feeling right at home and Federico asked me if I wanted to play. “Ma certo,” I replied. How could I resist. I washed my hands and slipped on an apron. We made baci di dama (buttery hazelnut cookies with a chocolate filling). Our job was to shape the pieces of dough into rounds and place them on a baking sheet. It had been a long time since I had done anything manual and I found it really relaxing. What I liked best was the social aspect of the work: we passed the time talking about our philosophy of food and our passions in the kitchen. I left smelling of butter and hazelnuts with a huge smile on my face.
Thank you Annette and Federico for a fantastic afternoon.
Yes, I survived Cheese 2007, but just barely. Cheese is something that should be respected and I learned this the hard way after the first day of this wonderful celebration in Bra.
Last night there were spontaneous festivities to celebrate the end of Cheese and I attempted to capture them with my camera video.
I just came across this “Table of Condiments that Periodically Go Bad”. I love it and I think it should be taped to everyone’s fridge (especially my mom’s).
If you ever have a chance to come to Cheese in Bra, Italy, do not hesitate. This is an amazing event. There are thousands of cheeses and wines to be tasted and so many passionate, interesting people to chat with. Today was the first day of Cheese and it was grand! The streets of Bra are wafting with the lovely perfume of cheese. Everyone has a smile on their face.
I am torn between my love for wine and cheese. Luckily the two go together and their is plenty to go around here. So far, my favourite spot is the enoteca, where you can choose from a selection of 2000 wines and hundreds of very rare cheeses from all over the world. I plan to make this my hang out each night.
There is no better way to learn than doing and in this case tasting.