What to Eat in Turin – Piedmontese Food Specialties
Turin boasts a huge range of fantastic opportunities for dining out. The local Piedmontese cuisine is some of the most varied and celebrated in Italy. Piedmont is the region where the Slow Food movement was born, just a few kilometres away in Bra, with many eateries inspired by the Slow Food concept focusing on local, fresh, top quality produce. Salone del Gusto e Terra Madre, a biennial international food fair and convention, is hosted in Turin in the autumn to highlight the importance of producing locally, eating healthily and savouring socially.
Choose from traditional, classy, colourful, romantic, characteristic or contemporary atmospheres. The city is packed full of restaurants, trattorie, osterie and pizzerie, a few vegetarian options, and an increasing number of places that offer fusion cooking based on Italian favourites, and blended with exotic flavours and twists on the traditional. Alternatively, go ethnic with Arab cuisine, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Argentinian and Iranian. For wholesome lunchtime meals there are many excellent bars and a range of places to grab a pizza slice, focaccia or farinata (made from chickpea flour) on the go.
What to Eat in Turin – Piedmontese Food Specialities
Piedmontese food specialities are a delight to sample. Full of flavour, texture and originality; be daring and try any of the following:
Piedmontese antipasti are local favourites including antipasto misto (mixed hors d’oeuvres), Tomini (mini creamy cheeses served with chilli), Vitello Tonnato (veal in a tuna mayonnaise), marinated anchovies or anchovies in a green sauce, red and yellow peppers (sweet varieties are grown in nearby Carmagnola) with Bagna Cauda (garlic and anchovy sauce) or cold cuts. Locally baked grissini (breadsticks), native to Turin, will accompany any meal worth its salt.
Primi (pasta and rice dishes)
The Po valley in Piedmont is famous for its rice paddies that produce Arborio, a short grain variety of rice that is used for risotto and which gives it its creamy consistency. Traditional takes include risotto al Barolo, risotto ai funghi (with Porcini mushrooms) and Risotto alla Milanese (with saffron). Many others are made with local cheeses, fresh vegetables and fish. Venere Nero, a black, short grain rice is also native to these parts and turns a rich shade of indigo when cooked.
Pasta varieties local to Piedmont include agnolotti, a ravioli traditionally stuffed with minced lamb. A cute, mini version is the Agnolotti del Plin, served in a meat broth. Tajarin, long flat egg pasta strips are often served with ragù. Rice or pasta with Tartufo d’Alba (truffles) is another speciality to be found, especially in the autumn.
Secondi (meat, snails & fish)
A carnivore’s dream, bollito misto includes a mix of veal, chicken, pork, and offal and you will see carne cruda (like beef tartare) on many menus.
Lumache (snails), cultivated in the Cherasco area, are served with garlic, tomato and olive oil sauce.
For those with lighter appetites fish is in abundance with a wide choice of anchovies, salt cod (Baccalà), swordfish, salmon, tuna, bream, sole, trout, sardines, herring, cod and sea bass.
Dolci o Formaggi (desserts or cheeses)
Local favourites for dessert include bunet/bonet (chocolate and amaretti biscuit, coffee cream caramel slice), gelati (ice-creams), sorbetti (lemon or apple sorbets – with or without vodka), panna cotta topped with caramel sauce, tiramisù, torta di mele (apple cake) and zabaglione/zabaione (cream of egg yolks with sugar and Marsala or Moscato wine).
Cheeses produced and consumed in Piedmont and northern Italy include stracchino (creamy, soft white cheese), toma (a light, semi-hard cow’s milk cheese), robiola (delicate and sweet, often preserved in oil), raschera (made with a combination of cow, goat and sheep’s milk coming from the high pastures of the Monferrato and fontina (a rich mountain cheese from nearby Aosta valley.