Two fine tours of Turin offered by Turin based Language Point.
The first is for anyone seeking the very best of the city's gastronomic culture and in particular the famous coffee bars and pasticcerie.
The second is an itinerary taking you past the most significant historical landmarks of the historical center. Both tours also end with a chocolate tasting.
SWEET TOUTHED TURIN TOUR
This tour gives you the opportunity of discovering some of Turin’s most important historical cafés, confectioners and pastry shops, most of which can still boast their original interiors and furnishings.
In each of these historical places you can enjoy a wonderful experience in which the city’s history, tradition and typical products are blended together.
Pastry shops have played an important role during the late 18th and 19th centuries not only in the history of the city itself, but also that of our Nation, especially as a place where political debate would take place at the time of the unification of Italy.
At the end of your itinerary for all participants there is also the possibility of a special chocolate tasting in one of the chocolate shops in the city centre.
A few years ago we were invited by Sanremo Promotion to see the city and wider province of Imperia in Liguria. As well as the wonderul old part of Sanremo called Pigna and a trip to Taggia to see the famous olive production, we were also taken to the Olive Oil Museum of Olio Carli in Imperia. Read a full report here.
We learnt recently from Urban Italy that Olio Carli has just opened an Emporio Carli in the city. The shop is selling a huge range of olive oils as well as typical food products such as sun-dried tomatoes, vegetables under oil and, of course pesto made with their olive oil.
Here’s the original documented pesto recipe dating back at least 150 years.
Mantova is a fabulous place to visit and we go along with Torquato Tasso writing in 1586 following his visit to Lombardia: "This is a most beautiful town worthy of travelling a thousand miles to see it'". So what are you waiting for!
1. THE DUKES PALACE
Palazzo Ducale is really a town in the shape of a palace and was built to compete with the major European courts of the 13th to 14th centuries. It is 34,000 square meters of lanes, squares, courtyards, gardens and well preserved rooms housing priceless masterpieces. Not least the 'Camera dei Sposi' sumptuously frescoed by Andrea Mantegna with Emperors, Kings and crowds of people. horses and dogs. In fact, the ruling Gonzagas were great animal lovers and even built a dog's courtyard by a lakeside wing of the complex. You can still see a gravestone to their beloved 'Oriana'.
The House of Hospitality of Santa Elisabetta d'Ungheria is run by a religious fraternity member of the Institute of Piccola Fraternità Francescana di Santa Elisabetta d'Ungheria.
As well as a place to stay in the town, it is of incredible historical interest, not least as it is located in the centre of Assisi, very close to the Basilica of Santa Chiara and the Municipal Square.
More specifically it is in Piazza del Vescovado where Saint Francis famously rejected his privileged merchant upbringing by returning his fine clothes to his father to then embark on his religious calling.
The fried gnocco or gnocco fritto, is typical of Emilia Romagna and especially the area of Reggio Emilia and Modena and these little pieces of fried bread are served with Italian salumi such mortadella, prosciutto, salame felino and culatello.
It is a typical appetizer served with a glass of Lambrusco. The more the quality of the salumi and the wine, the more the snack is delicious.
It seems that the Longobards used made it too. Certainly the gnocco fritto, as well as the classic erbazzone dish, are central to Emilia Romagna food heritage.
How many wine routes are there in Piemonte or Piedmont? Well, the answer is seven and they are the following:
- Strada dei Vini dell'Alto Monferrato
- Strada del Vino Astesana
- Strade del Vino della Val Tiglione
- Strada Reale dei Vini Torinesi
- Strada del Barolo e dei Grandi vini di Langa
- Strada del Vino dei Colli Tortonesi
- Strada del Vino Monferrato ASTIgiano
We've already written an article about the first of them, the Wine Route of Alto Monferrato, and mentioned how it is not just a road linking various wine estates and cantine, but other elements which contribute to the local culture of the territory.
The others are similar, but you would be struggling to find out from the dedicated websites.
monferratostradadelvino.it no longer exists, our browser told us to avoid stradarealevinitorinesi.it for malware, while the rest are very much circa 2004 or else just pop up as a Facebook page.
The latter is by far the best website with Google maps meticulously signposting the wine producers, where to stay, local food producers, annual events, and even castles, churches and museums.
The former is less intuitive, but the 4 itineraries are aimed at independent car travellers and are clear enough all being round trips from Barolo.
Tortonian Itinerary: Barolo – Annunziata – Roddi – Verduno – La Morra – Cherasco – Novello – Barolo (Length: one day)
Helvetian Itinerary: Barolo – Monforte – Castiglione Falletto – Fontanafredda – Serralunga – Perno – Barolo
The trails of Dolcetto of Alba and Diano Barolo: Barolo – Roddino – Sinio – Montelupo Albese – Diano d’Alba – Grinzane – Barolo
From Barolo to Dogliani: Look for Dolcetto di Dogliani along this route and check out the video above.
The website also lists all the 59 cellars to visit and makes selected restaurant and accommodation suggestions for each.
This is a typical codfish recipe from the beautiful town of Vicenza in Veneto, it is served in the classic way with polenta
Codfish already cleaned and softened (to serve 6 people you need 1 kg of codfish), flour, onions, parsley, anchovies already cleaned, parmesan cheese, olive oil, butter, hot milk, salt and pepper
When in Venice do not miss out on the typical 'baccalà mantecato' or creamed codfish. It is an easy and daily dish which you can find served as an appetizer with a slice of bread or polenta in any 'osteria' or 'trattoria', but do ask for a 'bacaro' as they say locally. The happy hour in Venice is called 'cicchetti' and walking in Venice stopping for snacks and culinary gems in wine bars is very much part of Venetian life.
Below is the recipe for the creamed codfish or 'baccalà, the Venetian way.
A great alternative to ice cream is sorbet, or water ice, which is also called granita and can be flavored with various fruit syrups. It is a fabulous drink which contains no milk or eggs, but just water and sugar and is very refreshing o a hot summer day.
In Rome, these water ices are called 'grattachecca' because the ice is scratched from a block of ice. Nevertheless, when you think granita, Sicily tends to come to mind. I know friends from the island who are very severe in judging the quality of a granita which they insist must be flavored with almond milk, coffee and be accompanied with a brioche.
The English writer Edwar Lear in the diary of his Italian journey made from July to Agust 1847 mentions that his host in the province of Reggio Calabria offered him snow mixed with wine. The ice from the high mountains of Calabria was used to preserve the food and make refreshing drinks throughout the summer
Our accommodation suggestions by location.
The Westin Excelsior Hotel Rome • The St Regis Rome Hotel • Hotel Eden • The Duke Hotel • Grand Hotel Terme di Stigliano • Hotel Atlante Star • Hotel Atlante Garden • Hotel Della Torre Argentina • Noor Luxus Resort • Fontana del Papa Bed and Breakfast