A bite of Turin: flavor and tradition

“Milano da bere” (literally, “Milan you can drink”) was a popular slogan in the 1980s, invented by a famous advertisement agency for Amaro Ramazzotti; the liqueur bitter’s campaign was so successful that the expression has been quoted, paraphrased, and mocked in infinite variations since it first appeared.
Decades ago, Milan was the city of social life and Turin was the capital of cars. Today is completely different, and Turin in many ways has become a hub for Italian food: it’s the city where Eataly was founded, where Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre is held every year, not to mention it is the most important city in Piedmont – a region with a strong culinary tradition, famous for its wines and typical dishes. Anyone working in gastronomy at its top levels knows that roots in this city entail a history of rich traditions.
Lenti, specializing in the production of high-quality ham and roast since 1935, has developed a secret recipe to give each of its products a special touch, always reaching excellence and offering “pure ham for pure pleasure”, as its advertisement claims. For its new campaign, Lenti has come up with a new slogan that highlights the company’s hometown: posters designed by Milan-based agency Loro declare there is a “Torino da mangiare” (“Turin you can eat”) that offers ‘gianduiotti’, ‘agnolotti’, ‘grissini’ (breadsticks) but also a unique ham – just in time for Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre between October and November.
The campaign also includes a tour planned by Lenti in collaboration with Italian Ways, guiding foodies and gourmets in search of ancient flavors hidden in the fascinating Piedmontese city. Participants thus discover flavors – and the talents who created them – along an itinerary that engages all the senses and can surprise with unexpected synesthesia, as aromas that spark memories intertwine with the hues and images of Turin.

First stop: Circolo dei Lettori (the “place for readers and writers” that opened in 2006 inside the beautiful, 15th-century Palazzo Granieri della Roccia). Lenti has a solid partnership with the venue, recently highlighted by a new gourmet sandwich called “The Spirit of”, launched by Barney’s, the Circolo’s lovely bar at the corner of food and culture.

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After visiting the elegant Galleria Subalpina – Turin’s best example of Art Nouveau, and home to Baratti&Milano – the journey reached Gelateria Pepino, which has brought some of Italy’s finest ice creams to all of Europe since 1884. Gelateria Pepino is in Piazza Carignano, one of the city’s historic locations: a square surrounded by magnificent baroque buildings, including an icon of Italian Risorgimento – Palazzo Carignano – and the famous, 17th-century Teatro Carignano. This is where Oliviero Toscani’s open-air exhibition for Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre is being held. It is also the location of the famous restaurant Il Cambio, where statesman Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour had a table always reserved for him. After desserts and coffee, it’s time to move on to “800 Chinato”, a digestive wine made by Farmacia della Consolata (founded in 1510, and recently awarded by Confcommercio as the oldest shop in Piedmont). While the original recipe for the wine was invented by one of its pharmacists in the 1800s, the modern re-launch was a wonderful idea of the current owner, Fulvia Lenti.

The third stop on the tour was Palazzo Birago di Borgaro, an 18th-century residence designed by Filippo Juvarra and currently the seat of Turin’s Chamber of Commerce. Participants listened to the story of this wonderful building told by a Chamber of Commerce manager, who also explained the “Masters of Taste of Turin and its province” project, promoted by the Chamber of Commerce, its Chemical Laboratory, and Slow Food to highlight 156 “artists of flavor” who uphold the tradition and local value of excellent ingredients.

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Then, participants walked about the city center, stopping in Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Castello, and noticing landmarks such as Palazzo Madama, Palazzo Reale, and the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. The tour even included the Porta Palazzo market, which at 50,000 square meters is the largest in Europe. This is where Macelleria Testa opened in 1916: one of Lenti’s trusted distributers in Turin. The Macelleria has recently opened a second shop inside the Covered Market in Corso Racconigi 51, one of the “EccelLENTI” sellers Lenti can count on, and the recipient of a Masters of Taste award during this year’s Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre.

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Finally, the “Torino da mangiare” tour ended at Birrificio Torino, near Piazza Castello: the heir of Turin’s great brewery past in the 1800s. With a taste of the artisanal products prepared by the owners, participants ended their wonderful trip among the senses, memories, and beauty.

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October 27, 2014

A bite of Turin: flavor and tradition

Turin