More adventures in Torino


More adventures in Torino

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

I’m spending a lot of time in Torino lately, every other weekend in fact. Laura has a book of 100 things to do in Torino so I went through it and marked a few of the things that interested me. So this last weekend we went to see a couple of things.

The first one is the Mercato di Porta Palazzo. The real name of this piazza is Piazza della Repubblica but everyone knows is as Porta Palazzo. In any case it is an enormous market of just about everything to eat as well as goods for the house or clothing often of dubious quality. There are markets of such things also at Bologna but not nearly as vast as this market.

The main structure shown below houses mostly meats, cheeses, breads and pastas as well as probably some other things. It’s quite large and we didn’t go through all of it but did buy some torinese ravioli called agnolotti del plin. Cute little rascals that in a certain sense resemble tortellini. Very torinese. Served with butter/sage sauce they’re very tasty.

The original structure for the market – meats, pastas etc inside.

agnollotti del plin

Next we went to the fruit and vegetable section. Vast and crowded.

LOTs of fruits and veggies

Also very crowded

We skipped the clothing section and went to the other enclosed building which had several large fish markets. Here, the process seems a bit strange. The wide variety of critters from the sear are displayed on a large area covered with ice as you can see. The customers are at the bottom of this sloping surface however the scales are at the top. So a couple of guys at the bottom ask what you’d like to buy. They put the approximate quantity that you want in a plastic bag and toss it to the guys at they top. After it is weighed and the price is announced the scale guys toss it back down. The customer then pays and goes away with the purchase.

Scales at the top, customers at the bottom
Creative display
Yes, that’s what a swordfish looks like in pieces

In the same zone as the market there is the Balon . This is a really big flea market. It too is quite vast. While the market Porta Palazzo is open every day the Balon is open only on Saturdays. There is also the Gran Balon which is every 2nd Sunday. The Gran Balon is even larger and has lots of antiques rather than the humdrum normal flea market stuff. One of these weekends I want to go to he Gran Balon.I can barely imagine how large it must be if it is significantly larger than the regular Balon.

Only one of the streets with Balon vendors
Finally at the end of the Balon in a piazza

On Sunday since it was really a nice day we took a trip into the hills of Torino and ate at a nice trattoria called Antica Trattoria “Con Calma”. They offered a piemontese specialty – un fritto misto (mixed fry). I have had fritti misti in other parts of Italy, usually near the sea and they generally consist of fish and other seafood along with vegetables which are breaded and fried. This dish in piemonte has vegetables but most of it is meat of one sort or another.

We made the mistake of ordering two orders. We could easily have eaten our fill sharing and order but we did take the left-overs with us.

Both of our plates were full and there is still a lot left in the pan on the table
The special menu for the fritto misto

So the translation of the above – as best I can: Veal cutlet milan style, lamb rib, sausage, batsoa’ (not sure but better not to ask), brain, granelli (i don’t know but some kind of innards), sweatbread and liver, snail and frog, artichoke, fennel, some kind of potato thing, zucchini, eggplant and cauliflower, apple, pavesini (some kind of cookie) sour cherry, zabaioni ( a kind of sweet creamy stuff – how they manage to fry it is beyond me) and finally semolini (a kind of sweet made from wheat). Whew, just eat it and don’t worry about it. I pretty much liked it all except the frog – too many little bones.

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