March, 2009

Mid-Week Mini Vaca

We went to Torino last night to participate in the Gusto del Territorio – an iniziative to promote typical products from various regions of Italy and unite chefs young an old for an exchange of innovative ideas.  In short, we ate and drank for four hours.  The event (part of a series) was hosted by the restaurant L’Birichin with guest chef Walter Miori from Trentino.  It was an awesome night.  Here’s what we had (I’ll let you use your imagination): 


Aperitivo Welcome  –  Isac Le Baladin e Super Baladin – Birrificio Le Baladin

Spuma di seirass (see below) ed agro di mosto San Giacomo

Polentina di Storo con sarda in saor 

Tartare di “carne salada” con verdurine e bavarese agli asparagi

Canederlotti alla verza e puzzone di Moena su burro e tartufo del Baldo

Pancia di maiale con polenta di patate porri alla crema con tartufo nero, salsa al miele Valdivia

Guayaba, frutto della passione ed Olio Terre Rosse

La torta sbriciolina con zabaione al Maso Grill

Bicchierino alla cioccolata modicana Quetzal, grappa Solera Selezione e gelatina al tabacco 



Ferrari Perlé

Ferreri Perlé Rosè

Tenuta Podernovo Tenuto igt Toscana

Lunelli Maso Grill

Cow’s, Goat’s & Ewe’s Milk Whey

The name Seirass, Seras derives from the Latin Seracium and is the local name for Ricotta in Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta. The product has many different forms in the region, ranging from rounded cones to cylinders or an upturned basketshape. When dried and salted, it may have a roundish shape and varies in weight. The cheesemaking technique is the classic Ricotta method – the whey is heated to 90°C – with the difference that Seirass del Fen whey comes from mountain dairy milk used to make Toma cheese.  As is well-known, the whey of soft cheeses produces soft Ricottas while whey from cooked cheeses gives a more solid product. It is also difficult to obtain ricotta from pasteurised milk naturally. After 12-36 hours, the Seirass is taken out of its moulds or cloths and kneaded by hand with white salt. It is then exposed to the atmosphere. This operation is repeated several times. The cheeses are then placed in a dry, well-ventilated room to dry, after which they are wrapped in freshly cut hay (fieno or fen). In some cases, the Seirass is also lightly smoked.

Body: the fresh cheese has a delicate, lumpy body while the mature version has a firm, translucent, brownish-white or straw-white body.
Height/weight: varying from 2-5 kg
Territory of origin: Seirass is made almost everywhere in Piedmont, but hay maturing is typical of the valleys around Pinerolo.


Here are our pictures of Venice (and Padua)!  We went for a quick weekend trip with our friends Claudia & Fabrizio from Torino at the end of January.  Warning:  they’re mostly pictures of buildings/landscapes.  Not too many people pics, but if you’ve never been to Venice, it’ll give you a good idea of what the city looks like.  I have to say, it wasn’t what I was expecting.  I thought there would be more…water.  I suppose when you dream about going to a certain important destination for so long,  you can’t help but feel a little let down when you actually see it in person.  Though this isn’t always the case.  I remember when I got to Las Vegas I was like, “Holy crap!  This is SO not what I expected!!”  Venice is certainly beautiful, with gondolas and striped poles and live musicians like you would expect, but I always thought it would have a romantic feeling about it, and instead it just felt touristy.

We also visited Padova on this trip.  The highlight of the city for me was the Basilica di San Antonio, which is this huge basilica dedicated to Saint Anthony.  I’ve never seen a church like this, and I at least peek my head into all the churches I go to in the area.  Every single inch was covered with some sort of painting or sculpture or marble decoration.  I think they’re overdoing it a little on the whole Saint-Anthony-worshiping thing though.  There was a line of about 20 women waiting to throw themselves on his marble tomb and wail their miseries, and two walls dedicated to pictures and notes from people asking for his help.  Containers asking for donations abound, though I found it odd that they don’t let you light candles like they do in most churches.  You can donate money for candles or donate candles, but you can’t actually light one yourself.  There was also a chapel inside of the basilica that was filled with Saint Anthony’s embalmed body parts (cheerfully on display in golden canisters).  Umm, eww.  Besides, isn’t that like illegal in this religion?