We went to Torino with the intention of attending the famous chocolate festival – Cioccolato – which is held in March every year ^^ excited max!!! but guess what, in the end it was postponed to november this year -.- so guys, if you’re in italy in november 2013, do drop by torino for the festival and tell me about it! i heard it’s awesomeeeee :)
torino is in the piedmont region of italy which is where the slow food movement in italy started and where you can find fine wines and an atmosphere that is, as described by lonely planet “more francais than italiano” ;) yet it has the concept of “made in italy” stamped all over it. when i first stepped out of the torino train station, i was like, “huh? how does this feel like france at all?” well…yep you need to get to the city centre to get that feel ^^ see the pic above ^^ it’s about 20min walk from the train station :)
What to see in Torino
our first stop in Torino was Museo Egizio (adult €7.50), which is apparently the second largest Egyptiam museum in the world after the one in Cairo, Egypt! rather interesting how there is an egyptian museum in Italy – you’ll find the answer when you visit the place ;) but if you only have limited time in Torino, like i did (i.e. a day trip), i wouldn’t recommend that you visit this because i didnt feel it was very interesting.
on the other hand, i definitely encourage you to visit Museo Nazionale del Cinema (adult €9) which is a fascinating tour through cinematic history! this museum is HUGE and definitely worth your money to visit. we spend two hours in there and it wasn’t enough! :( on top of that, it is housed in Mole Antonelliana, which is the symbol of Torino – a 167m tower, and you can buy a combined ticket of the museum entry + panoramic lift (i think it’s €11 for adults) which allows you to go all the way up to the viewing deck for stunning views of Torino ^^ although i didnt go for the lift option because the queue was crazily long and i didnt have the time to queue (i think you’ll probably need to allocate 0.5-1hour to queue judging from what i saw when i was there), i think it’s DEFINITELY worth it!!!
My foodie recommendations in Torino
i daresay i’ve had the BEST italian food in Torino so far!!!! :D ironically, with regard to food, italy has somewhat been a bit disappointing. i was totally anticipating having all sorts of awesome pastas and pizzas when i came here, but the food seems to have fallen short of expectations :/ it’s not as W-O-W as i’d imagined it to be :( maybe it’s just milan, or maybe i just havent found the right places. anyway, in each region of italy, the pastas are different, so i guess it’s just what appeals to your taste buds. (pizza in italy has been AWESOME though!!!!! can get really cheap pizzas that are freshly baked and damn awesome ^^). but in Torino, we finally found a gem :’) spectacular pasta with a great dining experience at this restaurant called Eataly.
it’s actually a cafe/bistro setting within a gourmet supermarket! and judging by this description, it probably already means something about the quality of food yea? ;) and we weren’t disappointed! (Y)
sam wanted a pasta with meat. something that is surprisingly difficult to find in Italy! all their pastas are really just that. noodles. and sauce. -.- hmm. anyway, he ordered the tagliolini di “michelis” con ragù de “la granda” (€9.50) – con ragu means with meat sauce. and yay he was so happy with it! (: i love how they have handmade noodles here, the texture is just so awesome!!!! (: and the ragu sauce was so robust and flavourful, we gobbled it all down in a jiffy! :D
i opted for the linguine con pesto (€9) which is a specialty of the liguria/genoa region of italy! all these are in the piedmont region, and pesto sauce is especially famous in genoa! and it was so delicious!!! okay maybe it’s not for everyone – it’s really quite simple, just pesto sauce with a sprinkling of pine nuts, but i loved the taste of the pesto and the natural taste of this whole dish! (: and it made me happy that i was eating something local in the region haha.
the piedmont region is also famous for various kinds of wine, and top of the list is Barolo wine which we got for €5 a glass! (: it’s a pretty strong wine, so it’s good with hearty foods like meat and pastas and is usually aged for at least 5 years before it’s ready to drink. nice!!! ^^
anyway i loved the pesto sauce so much that i bought a bottle back hehe! ^^ and i finished it up already. haha pig ttm. i realised it’s not thaaaaat healthy after all xP cos it’s full of fats! boohoo. but it’s good fat (haha just trying to console myself here >.<). it's damn yummy anyway! totally worth it (:
Via Nizza 230
anyway, even if you’re not in Torino during the Cioccolato period, you can’t miss out on the chocolates here!!!!! there are so many chocolate shops here, just pop into one and ask whether they have tastings (: i highly recommend Bottega Guido Gobino, which has a few types of chocolate tastings for you to select from!! we were spoilt for choice!! the specialty of this region is cioccolato gianduja, which is hazelnut chocolate. think nutella, ferrero rocher… *drools*… :D they also have selections of pralines or ganaches or creams, aromatic and spicy chocolates for the adventurous spirit in you. we opted for the cioccolato extra bitter (€8) which simply means dark chocolate (don’t worry, it’s really not that bitter. if you like normal dark chocolates, this one’s for you!!!! :D). and it was SO SO SO WONDERFUL! :) i swear we were in chocolate heaven there ^^ they’ll give you a selection of 10-20 chocolates, and it was really nice of them to give us two pieces for each type, and just charged a flat rate of €8 despite the fact that there were two of us! maybe they gave fewer varieties, i dunno, but it was still really good anyway! LOVED IT. you have to try it!
plus the shop is so damn pretty you can just stand there and stare at it and go gaga heh ^^ if only the chocolates weren’t so fresh (haha wts i know that sounds quite stupid) but cos of that i couldnt buy some to bring home to keep :( at least, that was the case for the ones i particularly liked! but i really highly recommend this! :) best experience ever.
Bottega Guido Gobino
Via Lagrange 1/A
so if you love food, love wine, love chocolate, visit Torino/the Piedmont region. it will definitely not disappoint ^^ have fun! :)