Saturday June 14.
We’re almost fooled…..It appeared this would be a day to relax. Slept in till 0830 as did our hosts. Maybe we need to go to a hotel and give them a rest? I hope we’re not wearing out our welcome. If we are becoming like family, then it was time to leave days ago. Emilio and Elena have been incredibly generous, patient, holding nothing back.
Today, we eat simple cereal at home, and wash a few clothes…YEP, THAT was overdue. I get a kick that I insist we hang our clothes out in the dry warm sun as all Italians seem to do. Well, do we sit in the sun for awhile? NO, we HEAD out for today’s adventure: a ROYAL tour of TURIN, but first a trip to the “supermarket”. I COULD NOT have missed that….I have wanted to see what goes in inside any large European Grocery supermarket….and what IS sold there.
The country house needed a couple items from the Italian supermarket. Either the Carrafour, or Coop are just a few miles away. Not to be denied this experience, we both jump in with Emilio and drive to Pinarolo to the Carrafour, and here were some notes:
*Grocery carts…require deposit of a Euro 1 coin…which is returned when your cart is returned to the cart storage spot. Gee. But America can’t think of being this efficient…?
*Italian grocery stores: a mammoth isle of Pastas, many we’ve never heard of, brands never heard of. A single medium aisle for cheeses, one third that may be all lovely FRESH mozerellas . Meats may be a bit more expensive, but even in large markets, tend to be high-end, MUCH better quality, and bought locally, NOT frozen and shipped in frozen, then set out to sell as IF they hadn’t been. MANY more cuts from beef are available here not sold in America. Should I list them?
*THE BEST THING ABOUT EVERY PRODUCT, esp. fresh items? Regulation has led to labeling that actually tell you EVERYTHING about any item: when packaged, complete nutrition list, COMPLETE additive list, COMPLETE info where/when it was grown, what region, village. NO worry about buying something and having an allergic reaction.
*Produce: Instead of taking up all your produce and standing there at the self-check out finding the name of the item, there are marking stands IN the produce area…. You get your produce all labeled and coded BEFORE you are at the checkout where you annoy people behind you because you can’t find the way to price your Kiwi.
So shopping was a FUN time. Next: return home, fold clothes, pick up Elena and head for TORINO! The FIAT capital of the world, home of the Olympics, one of the first capitals of Italy, a beautiful city.
FIRST? Yet another stop at a small village restaurant that these two know of, Vecchio Camino. Yep, NO menu, perfect place.
The place is half packed with a younger construction/blue collar Italian crowd, all men, where Saturday is considered a “half” work day….by noon-one they are off until Monday so they’re here having a fabulous lunch, a beer, and watching soccer.
Here we had a classic 3-course meal again:
*Crespella – a fabulous dish I must learn to cook bechamel sauce. **recipe below, and the pic is a web pic**
*Thin Steaks cooked slowly in wine
*Rodger’s Chicken Caccatori
*Dolci course: Fabulous Limone’ Gelato house made, a peach tart home-made, and Emilio’s house-made Tiramisu.
========== WE MOVE ON to TURIN: ============
**that first link is a great tourist site………this next one, simply wikipedia for more “history” view of Turin.
*Italy’s FIRST capital as a country was Turin. As a result there are glorious national buildings here.
*As in many cities, the heart of the city still cradles the ancient Roman City Walls that surrounded the courtyards of Turin’s first residents after Rome’s invasion of the farming region.
*Shopping in the “5th Avenue” of Turin was packed with a mixed, but tending toward young stylish hip people …… High End Shopping everywhere here……in blocks and piazzas.
*Covered cement/bricke/granite archways covered lots of the sidewalks here in the older parts of high-end Turin….absolutely built to protect from winter snows and rains….the shoppers.
This reminded me OF New York’s finest as we walked along:
The scenery was quite beautiful really:
LOTS of this area had cars blocked out, and nice piazzas showing off old architecture of some of the original state buildings:
Or these two churches….dueling priests?
Some gorgeous supports:
It was simply the name, but we didn’t go in…I kinda wanted to see the menu:
nice marketing choice, eh?
*After lots of walking, we are taken at one of the beautiful corners into a chocolate makers shop / coffee/chocolate/dolci restaurant that OPENED in 1858 called Baratti & Milano.
We are ahead of the dining crowd, so only fabulous desserts are being served with a mammoth exotic drink menu. We order a set of drinks, and with the drinks we are given a big tray of appetizers…..puff pastry covered anchovies, spinach, tiny bite size pizza pieces, buttery pastry covered with proscuittto, salamis, and other exotic tidbits. THIS was an extraordinary stop………Naturally, a small bag of chocolate treats were purchased and somehow ended up at home in Portland.
This sculpture stopped us in our tracks….kind of eye-catching no?
*Our TURIN Tour Continued however, as we ventured into the Fiat part of town.
Turin is the Italian version of what Detroit WOULD be if it were successful. IT is a FIAT city…..We toured the FIAT factory showrooms to see all current models of FIAT, ALFA, etc., brands. A beautiful place. Thousands owe their jobs in Turin to Fiat. I kept thinking, hm. The last time I’d heard of Fiat was their being near bankruptcy years ago. NOW, with new mgt, they are so successful they are buying other car companies, as we all know in America.
*By STATE regulation (as SHOULD BE HERE), mileage for all FIAT company cars ranges between 60-90 mph, and almost 0 emissions. THOSE regulations include the U.S. Ford and GM cars sold here,,,,SO…..GM and FORD have already been building cars that are efficient and even selling WHERE it is required for them to do so. In other words, they ALREADY have ALL the blueprints, specs, technology, to BUILD those cars in the U.S…..so why aren’t they? Corporate Corruption once again takes a bow.
*The square but VERY tall beautifully built tower originally meant to be a synagogue, but never enough money to finish it….taken over by city, and has never found a real purpose, but has been saved because it’s so beautiful.
*As dusk nears, huge crowds pour out of apartment buildings, and gather at almost EVERY restaurant in the city. Seems this city has a VERY REAL people feeling…as these crowds pack these places for the Italian equivalent of happy hour….it was astounding, I tell you, the number of people gathered throughout the city for drinks and appetizers. They will be dining later, but for a city this size, their sense of community was truly admirable.
*We have driven around enough to have seen more of the Savoy’ ROYAL palaces in the city. GRAND ornate places….unbelievable.
*We shop at an outlet store of Italian sports clothes……a fun time and a few new clothes, eh?
*We are taken to the Eataly….without question, the most exotic food store I could possibly imagine. This is a Mammoth exotic grocery/wine supermarket where ONLY regional foods are sold.
There are separate dining mini-restaurants throughout the store at each section: Seafood buys and dining choices, cheese sections / meats, wines, beer, produce (or vegetarians), and on and on. We toured the basement where you’re allowed into the cheese storage area (hundreds of cheese wheels stored at exactly the right humidity and temperatures:
**one CAN select one of the wheels so he’ll be notified when it’s cut.
Even the proscuito storage vault is open for shop:
Then we tour the wine storage areas – some 11,000 bottles, the beer section – thousands of Italian beers here. You can bring in your own bottles to be refilled:
An unbelievable store. The ENTIRE idea here is: SLOW COOKING from sustainable regional foods.
*Turin as a tourist stop slowed down for many years after the Olympics, but seems to be recovering a bit, but for an exotic city this size of a million plus, it remains largely protected from the millions of tourist slugs in southern Italy. Besides the magnificent downtown, there remains a beautiful exotic inner city here…. grand places.
*As we left the city, we drove along the PO RIVER…..gorgeous sights, and the ROYAL Gardens are here full of exotic statuary.
*******WE finally return home after dark, and arrive about 9:15, thinking we are done for the evening. At 11:00 our hosts announce they are hungry and ready for dinner, but not ambitious enough to prepare food. Are you kidding? WE DRIVE OUT of Machello at 11:10 to Pinerola ……for SUPPER! I thought at first they were kidding.
*For the ONLY time in our visit here, we went commercial. The “Osteria Fuoroporta di Pinerolo” is a restoration of one of the old farmhouses that circled an inner courtyard….2 million Euro was spent in renovations to build a mammoth restaurant that encloses a: Bar, Pizzeria, Wine drinking restaurant, outdoor dining, that would seat a 1000. We had an excellent pizza, but for the first time ran into difficulties in the bar area. Perhaps this place is going through a growth stage, but it remains the ONLY experience in Italy I would tell anyone else visiting to avoid.
==note: this Crespella Recipe is from Epicurious, and I AM going to make it: ==
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 large eggs
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons whole milk, divided
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread such as Nutella
Garnish: * Garnish: confectioners sugar
Accompaniment: chopped strawberries
Put a 12-inch ovenproof heavy skillet in middle of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
Whisk together flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and 1 1/2 cups milk in a bowl.
Add butter to skillet and heat in oven until golden, about 1 minute. Pour batter into skillet and bake until puffed, set, and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together Nutella and remaining 3 tablespoons milk until smooth. Thin sauce with additional milk if necessary.
Cool pancake in skillet on a rack 5 minutes (it will sink). Dust with confectioners sugar and drizzle with sauce. Serve with berries.
WE LEARNED a new TERM while devouring some delicious food today:
SCRAPETTA: the act of using bread to scrape the bottom of the dinner plate or bowl after eating delicious food.