Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Torino Travel Guide: Porto Palazzo

The Porto Palazzo Market in Turin's city center is the largest open-air market in all of Europe
which makes it a labyrinth of food stalls to get lost in. It is also the most ethnically diverse
market in Turin, perfect for those harder to find and more unique items. Porto Palazzo is centered
in Piazza della Repubblica, only around the corner from the 1st century Roman ruins of Porta Palatina, the gate that was a major entrance to this once walled city. A rainbow of fruits and vegetables signal the seasons and cheese and bread aromas fill the air but there is so much more than food here.
Food stalls ramble into clothing, new and used, luggage, perfumes, kitchen necessities, and flowers.
Then there are the black iron and glass buildings. Chose to enter one of the several indoor parts of
this market and you will find the sights, and smells, of the fish and meat vendors. This is where you
will find whole swordfish on display, entire slabs of beef sliced into fillets right before your eyes,
and all the lovely dried and cured prosciutto and salami that Italy is so famous for. It is hard to choose
between the dozens of busy fish mongers and butchers but my advice is to just stop at one that catches your eye.
 The market is considerably cheaper than a typical Turin grocery store. This is a great reason to arrive
early and pick from the freshest foods for your dinner or to make a picnic to eat at the nearby
Royal Gardens (Giardini Reali). Each Saturday Porto Palazzo expands even more when a flea market
is added called the Balòn and the second Sunday of every month is the Gran Balòn where the flea market includes antique dealers.
Another part of the market experience is the vendor "shouting". With so many sellers there is
hefty competition. The food vendors shout out calls to entice you to their stalls. To you and
me what might sound like like a traveling circus caller shouting, "Step right up, step right up
see the amazing bearded lady", the Italian market version is more like, "Signori e signore, scegliere
scegliere, prego prego, fresco fresco!", (Ladies and gentlemen, choose choose, welcome welcome, fresh fresh). On your first trip to this market several people shouting at you might be overwhelming but this is the
Torinèsi way of attracting your business. After a few minutes you will feel truly immersed into everyday Italian culture. Enjoy it!
Porto Palazzo
Piazza della Repubblica
M-F: Morning to Noon
Sat: All Day
Sun: Closed (2nd Sunday of every month holds the Gran Balòn but not the food mark
Hotel Recommendation:
NH Hotels: Santo Stefano
Via Porta Palatina, 19. 10122 Torino. Turin (Italy)
Tel. +39 011 5223311

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Talking Cheese Post

First cheese topic: Blue Mozzarella
Around 70,000 mozzarella balls have been confiscated by authorities here in Italy after consumers reported last week that the cheese developed a blue tint when exposed to the air. Some of these blue balls were found in Torino. The experts say, even though they recalled the cheese from this batch, the blue tint contains no toxins and is eatable. Right. I still keep checking my fridge for foreign blue blobs. So far so good...
Second cheese topic: I Indulged on Brie
This might just be the best thing I have ever tasted. First I took a piece of brie from our local cheese shop. Keeping the rind on I slathered the top with preserves. I choose apricot.
Then I wrapped the cheese in puff pastry and brushed a little egg on top.
I baked it in the oven at 175C or 375F for 20 minutes and what came out was a ooey gooey sweet and salty molten cheesy heaven.
Third Cheesy Topic: Business Dinner Food?
Pier's family decided to have a business dinner meeting at our house and so we had to serve dinner. Avocados were on sale so I chose to make a chilled avocado salad with black beans, tomatoes, caramelized onions and a sprinkle of goat cheese on top for the starter. I was the only one who finished mine. Nobody else liked it. It was hardly a traditional Italian dish and so I think that might have been why, but who knows? I don't think they had ever had black beans before.I guess for these guests I should have made the usual fair which includes prosciutto and grassini breadsticks.
That's all the cheese for today,

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Want My MTV!

MTV took over my piazza this the weekend and had a very big and very loud concert. It was live on TV and that was funny to be watching it live but listening to it out my window. I did go down to check out one act and that was Nina Zilli. I call her the Italian Amy Winehouse.
Panini stands opened for the concert in front.

To give you a taste of Nina Zilli: (she sings in english and italian!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mad Tea Party 2010

Your Late!!
Finally you are here! We have been waiting and waiting for you to arrive....
Welcome to our mad mad mad mad tea party. No wonder you're late. Why, this watch is exactly two days slow.

Curiouser and curiouser!

Have I gone mad? I'm afraid so. Entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.
 Thank you for coming to our ytrap aet dam, see you next year...Just don't be late!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Good Luck for Everyone

Last nights bonfire is traditionally an important moment for the Torinese because whichever way the Toro falls (on top of the pole) determines if the rest of the year will be a lucky one.

As you can see here the Toro fell towards Via Garibaldi and therefore good luck for everyone! Hooray

 Day after:
Heads Up: Tomorrow is the annual Mad Tea Party and my blog will be participating. Come and join the party by starting at A Fanciful Twist and clicking on any of the blogs joining the party! So tomorrow's post will not be Italy related but will be quite mad instead, "See" you there!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's San Giovanni!

 It's San Giovanni (the patron saint of Torino) which means everybody who works in Torino has the day off and it also means 4 days of celebrations. It kicked off last night with with a costume parade and bon fire. Today there is a large street market on my street as well as MTV has taken over Piazza Castello. Tonight there will be fire works and music. So much to keep up with but don't worry, I will be happily blogging about it all.

The parade to kick off the celebrations:

The nobels arrive on horseback.
Flags barriers display the colors of each family:
More to come....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blog of the Week! Woo Hoo!

If you haven't heard of Brit mag Italy Magazine then you should definitely check it out, And you should definitely check it out now that I have made Blog of the Week!
Besides highlighting fabulous blogs, the magazine's web site also has great stories of art exhibitions, news around Italy, recipes, and language lessons. Here is my interview (Thanks Pat!):

Blog of the Week - All roads lead to Pecetto

Words by Pat Eggleton
Meet Chelsea Christensen, an American girl who moved to Italy for love. She blogs from Turin about the ups and downs of living in Europe under the name of “Italian Postcards” .
Chelsea, when and why did you move to Italy and why did you choose Pecetto [Piedmont]?
I moved to Italy because a handsome Italian man asked me to. How could I say “No”? I didn’t, however, choose the town of Pecetto. It chose me. My "mother-in-law" rented the apartment for us so Pecetto, which is about 30 minutes outside of Turin, was my first experience of life in Italy. It is also where I started my blog, hence the title. We have since moved away from there but because it is where I began my Italian life, for me, all roads lead to Pecetto.
Did it take you long to settle?
Settle? When does that happen?
Can you tell us about where you live?
We now live in the centre of the centre of Turin. It is the most exciting place to be in the city. Every morning I wake up to a view of Palazzo Madama in Piazza Castello.
It is so much fun to have a bird’s eye view from my window of the parades, festivals, markets and concerts happening in the piazza below. It makes for many good blog posts that I usually entitle, "What's Out My Window?" For example, only today the naked bike ride tour of Turin just whooshed by my window. That was a unique treat!
What do you love about where you live and is there anything that drives you crazy?
With our house being so centrally located, the city is really my oyster. The Roman ruins, castles, shopping, museums, and major piazze are all in walking distance for us. I love that. The only downside is that my neighbourhood is full of tourists, buses and the youth of Turin often staying up all hours of the night. It's a trade- off I can handle.
What do you miss about the US ?
I miss my favourite comfort foods. I miss Halloween and Thanksgiving. I miss a tranquil driving experience and I miss people getting my jokes as now they seem to get lost in translation.
Do you speak Italian?
I speak what I call "caveman Italian". It ends up sounding something like, "" but I know I'll get there.
Have any of your culinary tastes changed since you came to live in Italy?
I have a new found and very serious appreciation for the quality of food: the joy of spending hours tasting and choosing the best olive oil; learning how food is grown, made and processed before you eat it; the one-on-one feeling of buying food direct from the artisans and farmers. Italy has also opened my eyes to so many other foods that I never knew about before, such as zucchini flowers, white truffles, figs, and the world of cheeses!
At home, do you cook Italian food?
I love to cook. Family members have favoured me with their secret ragù recipes and I often try to copy things we have loved at restaurants. But the American in me still often comes out, making the food more "Italican".
Do you plan to stay in Italy?
I'll stay for as long as they will have me...until I wear out my welcome.
What advice would you give to someone planning to move to Italy?
Nothing I could say would really prepare you for life in Italy and you'll understand what I mean when you get here. I will say this: before you come take some language lessons, say goodbye to your tumble-dryer, start honking your car horn a lot and pretend that there is no parking lot. Don't go anywhere between the hours of 12:30 to 3:30, and of course read my blog.
That should prepare people well! When and why did you start blogging?
I clearly remember the day I started blogging because it was the same day that I got my first Italian car,a Fiat 600. I thought, "I'm going to go to beautiful places in my new Italian machine and I'll take loads of pictures and share my adventures on a blog. If I am lucky my family will read it."
What do you blog about?
I blog about things that make me laugh! Trust me, life in Italy is funny.
Who reads your blog - mostly Americans / British people or a mixture of readers?
Italophiles of all genders, ages and cultures.
What has blogging given you?
A creative outlet; friends, some whom I've met in real life; a way to stay in touch with my friends and family who are scattered all over the world. I love that when they want to know what we are doing, they can just log on and find out, any time, day or night.
All your blog posts are interesting but can you recommend one or two especially for Italy Magazine readers?
Some of my favorites:
The Ultimate Marathon
Motown in Italian (with audio)
Street performers (with video)
Happy blogging, Chelsea and thank you for talking to Italy Magazine.