BITEG Press Trip – 2 ● A world of tastes and colors in Turin

Starting the second day of the press trip Biteg 2012 – on Friday, 4th May – with a typical Maghreb breakfast has its reason. We are at the Italian-Arabian Centre Dar Al Hikma in Fiocchetto Street 15, in Porta Palazzo, the heart of the multiethnic Turin, a place of integration and exchange that not only hosts cultural activities but also the popular hammam (the first Turkish bath in Italy!) and the bar-restaurant “Al Andalus” with North Africa specialties (and more). Starting from the NH Santo Stefano hotel, closed to the Porte Palatine (Palatine Towers), we reach the Centre on foot. There we meet Vittorio Castellani aka Chef Kumalè: a Turin free lance journalist and “insatiable gastronaut”, as he calls himself. But not only: he is a great world cuisine expert, a multifaceted traveler with inexhaustible energy and passion. He has an intimate knowledge of the social and economic realities of Porta Palazzo, the densely populated inner-city neighborhood near the Europe’s largest open air market, a goldmine of languages, faces, products and sensations. Chef Kumalè fascinates our bloggers and journalists with the stories of the deep social changes occurred in this area by the first wave of migrants from the countryside, from the Piedmontese mountains, in the 50s came the southern Italians (“meridionali”), along with migrants from Veneto, Tuscany, Emilia and – over the last 20 years – people from Maghreb, South America, Rumania, Albania, China, Niger and Senegal. That’s Turin, the city “touscouleurs” of the new millennium, seems to be a sea town and is considered final destination and meeting point, a urban space of few hundred square meters, a 3 hours walking tour that let you know the Arabian, Asian, African and Eastern Europe world, just around the corner. As Vittorio tells this amazing story, the young chef – born in Casablanca and moved here from Paris for the beautiful eyes of a Turin woman – offers the Morokko crêpes Mnsemmen and Baghrir, the Ghorib (bran biscuits), the dried fruits mixed with argan oil, called Amlou, the mint tea, the honey and the orange juice: a breakfast worthy of applause!

The morning continues with the taste, the smell, the tactile feel of food and photographing faces and colors at the farmer market such as the Piedmontese gardener who sells small mixed salad and acacia flowers to eat breaded, the Chinese farmers with their typical vegetables planted just outside the city. Near the producer of Susa Valley cheeses you can find the fresh Morokko mint in bunches. The IV covered market attracts the group with the variety of meat, salami and the Piedmont’s and Italian regional food specialties as well as Romanian and Turkish food, that can be found only here. Last but not least, the great tasting organized by the Porta Palazzo Committee: Parma ham and Arnad lard offered by Macelleria Testa, a delicate and original tripe salad by Macelleria Pronzato, the zucchini pie by Gastronomia Rapetti and the spicy olives – specialty of the stand Calzanegra – as well as the delicious mini cake of beef tartare with Tropea red onion compote. Dulcis in fundo (well, it needs to be said), after this “almost round the world” gastronomic tour, back to the starting point, for a great finale with the superb handmade pastry by Mohamed Moharba at the bakery “Il Pane” (the bread): here you can taste delicacies usually served during Ramadan and for special occasions, such as savoring kaan el ghzal or “gazelle horns”, filled with almond paste and covered with sugar, halva shebakia, a sesame cookie which is shaped into a flower, fried and then coated with honey, and coconut caramelized sweets. (to be continued)

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