This past weekend I was finally reunited with my Italian sister and oh how lovely it was! Now studying hard to finish her doctorate in engineering, and myself at a UNISG, it’s crazy to think how much we’ve grown and changed in the past 8 years that we’ve known each other.
Wanting to share a bit of my life in Bra, I brought some staples with me to Torino. Along with some salsiccia di Bra (spiced sausage, traditionally served raw) as well as two bottles of natural wines; a French red to accompany our salsiccia and an Arneis to pair with charcuterie.
Of course, I also had a fair amount of goodies from Canada to give Deb as well. Girl Guide cookies, maple leaf art, icewine, maple candies, Reese’s peanut butter cups and Canadian mittens just to name a few. I should have brought her a jug of maple syrup also, but that has the same value as gold for me at this point so I probably would have dipped into it before giving it to her anyway...P.S. Mom and Dad, please send me more maple syrup!
My lovely sister also spoiled me in return with a bunch of Piemontese chocolates (gianduiotti, cremini and Cunese al rhum) and some fantastic spreads and bottarga from Sicily! Another really cool thing included in my giant “Welcome to Italy” gift bag was a chunk of Sicilian almond paste. Initially I imagined it was like a marzipan, but Deb then explained it could be used to make almond milk. How cool?!
Since I’m no stranger to Torino, having already visited La Mole, some parks, and a few museums (Cinema, Egyption and even automobile!), I wanted to take advantage of my time and spend some good old fashioned quality time with my sister.
Indulging in all-you-can-eat sushi, taking a tour of the city, shopping until we dropped and visiting old friends over pizza and beer, it’s safe to say that we had a super productive weekend! We even managed to fit in a trip to Starbucks!
I’d like to point out that like McDonald's, Starbucks in Italy looks a bit different. For starters, their menu is a lot more condensed, which means they lack a whole bunch of unique drinks when compared to back home. They also have a lesser selection of milks (only almond or soy) and even their pastries are different! No traditional lemon loafs or cake pops, but an endless supply of croissants and a filling station where you can pick between custard, Nutella or jam to be injected inside. Since Italy is rich in its coffee culture, it wasn’t terribly unusual to see that most didn’t order a coffee-based drink, but opted for Frappuccinos instead.
My lovely sister and I also cooked up a lovely Sunday brunch complete with a classic cup of joe and avocado toast. She even had lactose-free milk and maple syrup for my coffee because she knows how much of a weirdo I am. It’s funny to think that despite the fact that I’m so many miles away from home, this Italian gal could make me feel like I was right back in home. From the food to the hospitality, I felt like I was right where I belonged. Next time, I think I owe it to her to make a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs and hash browns.
I can’t wait to visit again soon and share more great food, wine and memories with Deb! The following venture to Torino, I hope to have her meet my new friends from school and maybe there’ll also be a trip to McDonald’s on my list.
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Have you been to Torino? Any recommendations on what I should do/visit/eat?