A trip to Torino also means a journey into taste, to savour with intimate pleasure in a medley of sensations.
Here the appetisers come in an infinite variety based on meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, salami and cheeses, all obviously to be served with “grissini”, invented in the 17th century for Prince Victor Amadeus II of Savoy.
Any first course has to include “agnolotti”, meat filled pasta which is dressed with either gravy from the roast, or butter and sage, ragout sauce or meat broth. Not to be missed is the wide range of high quality handmade cheeses coming from our Alpine valleys.
And of course, all of this washed down with the great Piedmontese red and white wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Arneis and many more.
However, a true dinner in Torino must be preceded by the fun ritual that takes place late every afternoon in the cafés, wine bars and clubs along the river... the aperitif!
A cocktail or a glass of vermouth to go with sandwiches, cold cuts and local cheeses, pasta and risotto, multiethnic specialities, and the evening is ready to start!
Foodies, be prepared to delight your palate: Turin cuisine stems from a combination of rustic origins and refined dishes from the Savoy Court, with influences from French cuisine.
The first dish to try is vitello tonnato, slices of marinated Fassona beef steak, boiled and served with the famous tonnata sauce. Lovers of strong flavours will be charmed by bagna cauda, a Piedmontese sauce with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and anchovies. The sweet toothed will enjoy gianduia in several chocolate variations, but will also appreciate bonet, a pudding of ancient origin with a base of eggs, cocoa, dried macaroons and liqueur.
In Torino, in the 18th century, chocolate began to be processed and solidified, creating delicious products for satisfying the Court of Savoy and this led to the “invention” of gianduiotti, chocolates, pralines, cakes, biscuits and hot chocolate: world famous specialities which make Torino the Italian capital of traditional chocolate.
Other dishes to try at least once in your life include: Piedmontese fritto misto, tajarin, agnolotti del plin, capunet and bollito piemontese.
A true capital of taste and cuisine, let’s give it up for Turin, the city where countless snacks, small dishes, bar snacks and mini desserts were born and went on to take the world by storm.
We start with the legendary Bicerin, first served on the streets of this city in Piedmont. This historic, hot, non-alcoholic drink derives directly from the 18th century “bavarèisa”, which was served in round glasses and included a mix of coffee, chocolate and cream.
In 1763, the capital of Piedmont created its own version, a firm favourite of Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour. The ingredients in Bicerin are delightfully stacked on three distinct layers.
The “Pinguino” ice cream on a stick was also born in Turin, with creamy ice cream on the inside, covered with crunchy chocolate on the outside. Dating back to 1939, it was created by Gelati Pepino, the historic ice-cream parlour in Piazza Carignano.The recipe includes 70 grams of ice cream, and you can add coffee, gianduja chocolate spread, mint, hazelnut and typical ice cream toppings.
The tramezzino triangular Italian sandwich made its debut at Caffè Mulassano in Piazza Castello in 1926. It seems to have been named by Gabriele D'Annunzio, because the shape reminded him of the partition walls (“tramezze” in Italian) of his house. This famous version of the Italian sandwich, with its characteristic isosceles triangle shape in a soft bread, comes stuffed with all sorts of delicacies.
Turin is the home of vermouth and the aperitif. The Romans were huge fans of Absinthiatum vinum, the base ingredient of which is absinthe. In the late 1700s, Antonio Benedetto Carpano set out to recreate the recipe. He combined herbs and spices with Muscat wine from his shop, located opposite the Royal Palace. He took his invention directly to Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, who decided to make him his official supplier.
And the inventions do not end there! The Carpano company created Punt e Mes in 1870, when a stockbroker asked for the classic vermouth aperitif with an added half dose of quinine. The result was a product that was at once sweet and bitter.
In 1863, entrepreneur Alessandro Martini, accountant Teofilo Sola and expert liquor producer Luigi Rossi founded Martini & Rossi, to produce vermouth, liqueurs and sparkling wines. Their story began in Turin, but the company soon moved to Pessione di Chieri, on the railway line to the port of Genoa. You can enjoy fascinating guided tours of Casa Martini, reliving a fantastic and entertaining history.
Turin also witnessed the birth of the first bar espresso machine. This innovative steam-powered machine patented and built in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo rose to fame after it was presented at the General Expo of Turin at Valentino Park.