Having visited Turin once before, glanced in the windows of the pasticcerias and sampled goodies at the coffee bars, I had no doubt that I would relish the Dolce Piedmonte workshop at the Salone del Gusto festival. This northern region of Italy is known for its confections and the samples provided did not disappoint.
The first sugary beauty was a cuneesi al rhum meringue made by Arione, a historic regional pastry shop. It was delicate with hazelnut and rum tones, almost feathery in texture, melting into salacious nothingness on the palate. A match made in heaven, this ethereal concoction was paired with my favorite sparkling wine: Asti la Selvatica. The wine is complexly aromatic and its robust character lingers pleasantly on your tongue.
I sighed in perfect bliss.
The subsequent dishes included:
- Festivo from the Turin based Pfatisch bakery. A meringue layer cake with chocolate cream, bitter chocolate, cocoa and hazelnuts.
- Torta 900 from Balla Pasticcerie. A yummy chocolate sponge cake that remains a family secret and a patented recipe.
- Zurigo from Scaraffia. This particular dessert is inspired by another European city; Zurich. Its short pastry is filled with cocoa based cream, nougat and hazelnuts.
All of the preparations were delicious, each of them showcased chocolate skillfully and the wine pairings were wonderful. The workshop was hosted by knowledgeable pastry chefs and company representatives. Few would give recipe secrets, but did share a few techniques.
I finished the workshop with a pile of notes, a happy stomach and a new to-do list item entitled recipe testing. I strolled away in search of coffee and awaited my next class among the endless stands of artisan products down the corridor.