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Turin: Last Evening

October 2, 2016

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After a post-prandial rest and with my iPhone and I fully recharged, I set off back into the city late afternoon. I decided to visit the Egyptian museum which was close to the hotel. It houses the biggest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside Cairo.

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I don’t think I was quite in the mood for serious culture and after being a bit freaked out by an early display of a curled up desiccated body from ancient Egyptian times, I sped round and came back out into the sun. Well, I decided, something more serious in the shape of a good aperitivo was needed so I headed back to Caffe Torino in Piazza San Carlo, which Antonio had introduced me to yesterday, and ordered a Negroni. Now, I don’t often drink cocktails, especially strong ones, but I’d read Negronis were a speciality of Caffe Torino and as it’s a bit of an ‘in’ drink that many of my Italian friends drink, it was definitely time to try one. And where better than here.

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Usually made with red vermouth and Campari back in London, this version was red vermouth, rye whiskey and Angosturas bitters. Wow! It was strong but very good. It also came with delicious little snacks as it was aperitivo time. From my seat the Martini sign for the cafe was backwards – but as the photo proves that was nothing to do with the consumption of strong alcohol!

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Martini comes from Turin, as does Lavazza coffee, which is the coffee of choice at Caffe Torino. So happily settled was I that as the light faded, I decided to stay put for dinner – though I did first have to pay my bar bill and then move into the restaurant section. Many restaurants are closed on Sunday evening so choice was more limited tonight. It was quiet everywhere but calm in the warm evening air, the sky above so clear it was like a dark navy wash of Prussian Blue had been brushed across the sky. It was really beautiful.

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I chose Vitello Tonnato to begin. I’ve never tried this iconic Piemonte dish and have seen it all over Turin, so tonight I just had to have it as my starter.

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I think I’ve never been sure I’d like the combination of slices of cold veal dressed with a creamy tuna sauce, but fortunately it turned out I did. I chose a fish special of the day which the waiter was very enthusiastic about and indeed it was very good.

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I couldn’t make out what fish it was, only that it was a firm white fish with good flavour that came from Sicily. The sauce of tomatoes, olives, anchovies and capers was full flavoured but didn’t overpower the fish. It was indeed a very good dish. In full flow as it’s my last evening, I decided to have dessert and asked for local specials. I decided on a peach, chocolate and Amaretto cake and was persuaded to have a red, slightly sparkling dessert wine with it made from Malvasia grapes. Clearly with all resistance crumbling and eating far more than usual, it’s a good job I’m only here for the weekend!

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Both cake and wine were wonderful. The wine wasn’t too sweet for a dessert wine and had a full and delicious flavour. The waiter seeing me taking photos offered to take one of me. So here we are, a rare photo of Travel Gourmet.

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It was a lovely end to a great day. Once I’d left the restaurant, I wandered for a bit as it was such a beautiful evening and so quiet and calm everywhere.

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