One of the best parts about our stay in Turin was the food choices and supplies. We had decided to design our Christmas day menu around produce we could get on our arrival. I was a little nervous leaving it all to the last minute, however, it was this or carry food from Florence to Turin along with everything else and that just seemed a little ridiculous.
Like most people travelling you arrive at your destination, are usually hungry because it is lunchtime and you go in search of supplies. After finding the local ‘Express’ mart and feeling slightly sick looking at the fresh produce on hand I started to panic and thought, ‘Far out, is this going to be my first Christmas eating from an Express supermarket?’. We bought breakfast supplies and something for dinner that night and hoped we would find something more suitable and open when we went on our afternoon stroll that same evening. As it happens we stumbled on a food shoppers’ haven about two blocks away from our apartment, the panic started to subside. We planned to look that evening and buy on the 24th but I couldn’t resist and thought what the hell so we went shopping (which turned out to be the right decision). Our first stop, Primosenso, was a shop that only sold local produce and I mean local, within a 20km radius of Turin. Anyway we were so impressed with this enterprise that we bought some fantastic-looking rabbit and a delicious-looking piece of local beef for the star of our Christmas meal.
At the same shop I was watching a couple of locals in deep discussion about which salami they were going to purchase. This was quite an ordeal for them and went on for about 5 minutes so I figured with all that talking, touching and in the end buying 6 of the one salami, I thought we should follow suit and buy one for our nibble platter too. To go with the salami we paired it with a couple of local cheeses, not leaving out the delicious gorgonzola of course! I have to say the salami was absolutely fabulous! It was flavoured with fennel seeds and chilli, fresh and extremely morish, so much so that we went back and bought some for our friends who appreciate great food. Our favourite cheese ended up being the white Toma which was a smooth goat cheese slightly aged and a perfect accompaniment to the salami.
It was decided that we would have an Italian-style Christmas lunch and that means we couldn’t go past the brodo with tortellini. I asked around the few Italian friends I have and they all told me it was a must. We actually liked it so much that we have decided to do it again next year, however, I will be making my own tortellini this time. A clean vegetable broth with meat tortellini cleanses the pallet and settles your stomach for the main meal and also allows the ceremonies to stretch out that little bit longer, which is always a good thing on Christmas day!
While the rabbit was roasting with artichokes and potatoes, I seared the beef on the grill plate before finishing it off in the oven. I wanted it to be beautifully medium rare and this is an excellent way to get best results, you just need to make sure your oven is really hot and you rest the meat for at least 10 minutes. Max came into the kitchen at some point between nibbles and tortellini for a bit of a boogie with mum, which also tells me the boys were having a great day and enjoying the festivities.
Nic was very excited with roast beef and I was so very happy with the rabbit, as were Max and Alex. A freshly steamed bowl of broccoli doused in olive oil and lemon juice sealed the deal for our Christmas feast. We went back for seconds because I made enough for eight, however, with the amount of walking we were doing a second helping was quite ok.
The idea of buying locally really appeals to me and the quality of produce was outstanding. I have never had rabbit for Christmas, yet the meat is sweet, delectable and felt like a treat. I think I will have to revisit this dish again. A feast was definitely had. Alas, I am ahead of myself and haven’t told you about the fishmonger we found packing up his stall in our square on the 24th… I’ll be back with more!