Can I just say that this has been a freakin’ delicious trip? A food safari in northwest Italy and a bit of southern France, guided by an Italian foodie who spent lots of time in the area. When the Italian foodie happens to be a really good friend from college times, well, that makes the trip extra special.
I’m grateful that Renzo is in my life, that the handsome-and-talented husband understands the space that my friendship with Renzo needs. I know not every husband would be cool with his wife running off on a food adventure with a cute and charming male friend with tendencies to indulge her every whim but Robert was like, “Enjoy yourselves, please don’t get arrested (!) and see you in 10 days.”
I must’ve done something right in my past life, like save a bunch of schoolchildren from a burning bus, to have such a delicious life now.
Quick breakfast on the pier
Friday sadly rolled around! The weather was fantastic and we had a split second of looking at one another, asking ourselves whether to spend the entire day in Sanremo to get some sunshine and drive to Torino in the evening.
Good call to drive early though. We had an easy-going day and detox evening on Friday.
Lunch at Osteria del Borgo
Google pointed us to Osteria del Borgo in Carrú, which is not too far of a detour off the highway to Torino. We got there and it was not an osteria. The name says osteria, but in reality it’s a ristorante. Proper tablecloth and stiffly-starched dinner napkins ristorante. I think I was expecting informal paper tablecloth that I can scribble on. No matter, let’s eat.
Detox dinner chez Renzo
We had a relaxed afternoon and evening watching episodes of La Mante on Netflix. I’d gotten into Netflix French series lately, especially crime-thriller ones like Glacé, Le Chalet and La Mante. Anyway, in between episodes, Renzo managed to prepare dinner. Luscious agnolotti that he picked up from Eataly, and puntarelle, eaten raw and with a sauce that I described in my first trip post.
I do love my bitter greens.
Lunch at Bruschetteria Pautasso
This place supposedly serves the best Bagna Cauda in all of Torino. It’s located opposite of Pastis on Piazza Emanuele Filiberto. Once you pass through its unassuming entrance, you’ll be led to the dining area in the souterrain, more spacious than originally expected.
I don’t have much Bagna Cauda experience to compare, but come on. Garlic, anchovies, olive oil. How is that not a winning combination? Claudio, Renzo’s boyfriend, who had spent all week in his hometown joined us for the weekend, yay! I was afraid I wouldn’t see Claudio on this trip.
Claudio and I split a Bagna càuda dish as our starter. It was huge! I don’t know why they serve this as a starter for one person. A lady at the next table was eating a portion all to herself and as we eavesdropped on their conversation with the waiter, we discovered that she and her husband live in the Parma area and make this trip to Torino annually to eat Bagna càuda. Wow!
We had a walkabout before AND after lunch. Torino is just lovely. We looked at a couple of shops for new sneakers for Claudio, and then he went home for a nap, while Renzo and I continued on to a Francis Bacon exhibit and more window-shopping.
Dinner at Il Bastimento
Well-chosen by Renzo. Ristorante Il Bastimento is one of three eateries specialising in seafood and frutti di mare owned by the same guy, all located in the Piazza Vittorio Veneto area of Torino. It was a leisurely walk from Quadrilatero Romano, though I was too lazy to bring my DSLR with, so shot everything on my iPhone.
I really love sea urchin! A lot of people who haven’t tried it often ask me what it tastes like. To me, it’s creamy like custard in texture, and the freshest, best ones taste like the sea, delicate, slightly briny, umami. I don’t really eat it outside of Italian and Japanese restaurants, so when I see it on the menu, I go for it almost every time. A really great combination is pasta with sea urchin and mentuccia, young mint leaves.
Quick trip round up AKA lists
New dishes and flavours I ate:
- Torta sacripantina, albeit a modern take
- Activated charcoal and fennel bread
- Bruzza di pecora
- Salsify root with lardo di Colonnata
- Pasta con le sarde
- Cedrata soda: it’s “cedar” soda, from the sap of the cedar tree.
- La panissa/panisse: here’s a recipe (in French) with step-by-step photos
Best five meals, not in order:
Back to la Deutsche vita!
I landed at Tegel airport, was picked up by the handsome-and-talented one and we went straight to Michael’s BBQ party. The weather was warm and sunny, the food was yummy, the wine was chilled, the friends beautiful, the conversation easy and familiar. Thanks for an amazing time, Italy, but I think Berlin missed me!
Thanks for reading all this, I love you.