One word to describe Turin

We’ve arrived in Turin, which is a real city, and a quite wealthy one.

Though our (lovely) hotel is across from the train station, it is in a quite chic shopping area – filled with the brands that open up the purse strings.

We strolled through lovely arcaded streets and really felt our nearness to France.

After we found Don’s lunch destination, we went to find the Duomo di San Giovanni. On the way, we passed the lovely little church of San Lorenzo,which was spectacular in a very compact way.

And then it was on to the Cathedral. Besides being the major church in Turin, this church is a pilgrimage site for being the repository of the famous Shroud of Turin, the cloth in which Jesus was alleged to be wrapped after being taken down from the cross. A facsimile is on display over the original, housed securely in the draped casket below, and receives a steady crowd of visitors.

Lots more to see tomorrow. We just wanted to get a feel for this city today.

Don’s Food Corner

Despite having  increasingly sore feet and passing by some very attractive-looking restaurants, we wove through the streets of Turin to get to our destination restaurant. For followers of the Michelin guide, you’ll know that a restaurant like the one we found today with a ‘smiley face’ rating is about one step below getting an actual star.

The menu was limited and filled with choices neither of us would eat — like various versions of rabbit and offal.  But we found the place and it was getting near closing time for lunch; we were committed.

Jo started with a stylishly composed creation featuring a breaded fried egg that retained its soft yolk under fried pancetta, covered in a cheese sauce with spinach.  It looked beautiful and she must have liked it because I was not offered a taste.  I had anchovies prepared three ways:  1. breaded and fried fresh anchovies, 2. grilled fresh anchovies, 3. a cured anchovy curled on top of a piece of bread with a thick slather of butter.  A little bit of sea salt was sprinkled on top and around the plate.  Very attractive and very tasty.  I offered Jo a sample but she declined.

Jo then moved onto a risotto that featured a thick beef sauce reduction and bone marrow.  The risotto itself was made with some type of cheese (Parmesan?).  To say the beef sauce was deeply flavored is an understatement.  The marrow added further richness.  This dish was actually almost too exotic for us.

I tried the suckling pig.  This was a slice of a full roasted pig, beautifully prepared with a fantastically crispy skin.  It came with a few pieces of nicely breaded and deep-fried polenta.

As befitting a restaurant that perhaps has ambitions of getting a Michelin star, the portions were small. This was definitely not Mama’s kitchen and I’m not sure it was worth the effort finding it. We filled up with a full carafe of wine and at the end some complimentary grappa.  For some reason, we had difficulty walking out off there without propping each other up.

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