Italy is the ultimate paradise for people who appreciate good food. Ok, like you didn’t know that already.
From pasta to sauces of all kinds, from chocolate and bread, to cheese (oh yes) meat, wine and pizza, Italy has everything you ever dreamed of, my dear food lover. I kindly warn you for the content of the images that follow. You will drool on your keyboard.
And so my story begins last August, when I had the opportunity to travel to the region of Piemonte, Turin in particular. There, I had the pleasure of experiencing the real Italian food with a real Italian friend! So, next time you visit Turin, these are some of the MUST-EAT places you have to try!
First stop was the piadineria, a place where you can indulge yourself in many types of piadinae. Piadina is an Italian flatbread which is filled with anything you like. In Turin we visited the La Piadineria located at the center of the city (Via Accademia Albertina, 1/BIS), where I had the pleasure to try the “Legend”: piadina with prosciutto crudo and the amazing scquaquerone cheese, which is white, soft and melts in the mouth. All this was served with extra rocket salad. In the evening, it was time for pizza! One of the best places in town is the Le Rondini pizzeria. I treated myself with a different type of pizza, one with scamorza cheese, cabbage, eggplant, spicy sausage and mozzarella. It was really hard to choose; the variety of pizzas was fascinating.
My second day we visited the biggest open market in Europe, the Porta Palazzo. There, we could explore tons of different types of cheeses, a variety of sausages, cold cuts and deli meats, but also fresh pasta. The market also has plenty of fresh vegetables, meat, fish and fruit! We bought some fresh ricotta cheese, which we later ate with some fresh white bread and mortadella.
Later that day, there was time for a break from all this food overload, so we enjoyed some iced ginger-lemongrass green tea at Hafa Café. This café has a distinctive Moroccan decoration and serves many varieties of tea, couscous dishes, salads, desserts and cocktails. Its menu and atmosphere combine in an effortless way the traditional with the modern. The café is located at Via Sant’Agostino 23/c, where most of the bars and restaurants are. In the evening, we cooked some fresh gnocchi with spinach, we added some homemade pesto and ate it with the fresh ricotta and the mortadella on the side.
The next day was time for some focaccia! After walking for hours, it was the perfect time to dive into the gorgeous taste of focaccia. At the Tipica Ligure we had focaccia with spinach and cheese (the rest I don’t remember, since we were too hungry to note the names down). That same evening, we cooked our own authentic caprese salad with REAL mozzarella, you know the one you can never really find in the supermarkets.
The fourth day was dedicated to picnic, since it was a national holiday and we couldn’t do much. But still, we treated ourselves with caprese sandwiches, cheese and bread, but also some great wine. Unfortunately, there are not pictures of the food; it was consumed before I even realized I had a camera.
Around the fifth day, we thought it proper to visit one of the most famous Italian supermarkets: Eataly! If you don’t know it, this is the time to introduce yourself to its products. I beg you, really. This supermarket is even in New York (and in Japan, Turkey, Arabia, Brazil), offering to the world an amazing chance to taste the glorious Italian food. They even have their own cooking school. There were long counters only with cheeses, long counters of chocolate, long counters of everything! It might be more expensive from a typical supermarket, but it is definitely worth it. You can start your visit by dropping by their café and finish the day with some homemade pizza, like we did. You can find all types of Italian food you ever dreamed of. Seriously, google it.
Later that day, it was time for the typical Aperitivo dinner. This ritual starts at around 6pm and it lasts till 9pm to most of the bars and small restaurants. They make their own cold and warm food: salads, pasta, bread, pizzas, oven dishes and much more. You eat ALL you can in those hours and you only pay 6-7 euros depending on the area. Sometimes in the price the alcohol is included. The one we visited was located at Via San Domenico 4 and is called Km5. This time I had a collection of many gorgeous things, but I tried so many that I didn’t even bother taking pictures of them. I drank some Barbera red wine with my food, which I loved.
After walking all over Turin, we dragged ourselves to one of the most fantastic places ever: Cornetti Night. At this place you can find croissants which they fill for you with ANY type of crème: hazelnut, white, dark, milk, almond etc., etc. (this can take hours). I thought I would take something different, so I chose pistachio crema which was fantastic. I mean, did you think it wouldn’t? The day was officially over and our bellies were the happiest they have ever been. It also took a couple of hours to suggest this amount of food, but it was so worth it!
You are probably wondering why I haven’t mention ice-cream so far, the famous gelato. Well, since we ate gelato EVERY SINGLE DAY, I thought it deserved some special attention. We tried ice-cream from many different places, but the one that is known as the best in town is the famous Grom gelaterie. Turin has at least four stores, but the one we visited consistently (I mean every day) is located at Via Accademia delle Scienze 4, next to the Piazza Castello. My favorite flavors were the salted caramel and bacio (chocolate with hazelnuts) ones! It is slightly more expensive, but the texture and taste of their gelato is fantastic.
My last day I had the opportunity to eat a real Italian dinner, cooked by the sweetest Italian mom ever: Lidia. She had cooked ravioli with ragout sauce and fried veggies, which she accompanied with toma cheese and Dolcetto red wine.
Eating in Italy is not just a need or a habit, it is an experience. People spent time, effort and give a lot of love to what they create. And I can relate to this, since Greek cuisine is also made with love and attention. The difference with the Italian one is that, since it is so popular, you are used to a really low quality of products if you don’t live in Italy. But tasting the real thing has been a revelation to me. Those places I visited and the foods I tried are only a small part of the variety and magnitude of the Italian cuisine. It is vast, amazingly good and easy to fall in love with. Even if you are a food lover or not, visiting Italy should be on your bucket list. That juicy cheese is longing to melt in your mouth; it is created to tickle your palate and make you feel the happiest person alive. Even for some minutes. Because this is why we love good food; it makes us happy. Pack your forks and off you go! Ciao!
Click on the links to check the places online.
This post is not a promotion for any of the businesses mentioned above.
(Photos: Canon EOS 1000D, edited via Lightroom with VscoCam. The pizza picture is taken with a Motorola phone.)