Anyone who understands Italian culture knows they are passionate, arduous, pazzo people when it comes to food and sex! Both are enjoyed with gusto. So it made perfect sense for a food emporium like Eataly to open its first destination store in Torino a decade ago.
When my friend Maurizio suggested we visit Eataly in Torino (Via Nizza, 230/14, Torino), I was skeptical at first, comparing it to the crowded, non-descript Eataly in New York, which has never drawn my attention. Yet, I figured if this local boy from the Alps thought Torino’s Eataly was great, then it had to be, considering the food-sex forkgasm experienced by all Italians and I was not disappointed.
Eataly opened in 2007, the first of what has turned into a successful, global brand of food emporiums. They say the first is always the best. The Torino store is about a 10 -15 minute train ride away from the center of town in the Lingotto area of the city in the old Carpano Vermouth factory, adding atmospheric flavor to the part market, part restaurant, part event space foodie destination. This used to be the hub of industry. There’s the old Fiat factory next door, made famous by a race scene in the original 1969 movie, “The Italian Job,” starring Michael Caine. Sadly, it’s now an entertainment complex and shopping mall and the test track is a ghost of its former drive.
Eataly Torino is more laid back than its New York counterpart. Dining is at the counter or in cafeteria style rooms and alcoves where you can grab pasta, seafood, meat at various counters and it’s brought to your table. All dishes are freshly prepared while you wait and you can see the fish being cleaned right in front of you.
Eataly Torino is a food lover’s paradise. All of the regions of Italy are represented in its various food aisles, whether it’s wine from Piedmont or Tuscany or prosciutto from Parma. There is affordable balsamico shelved next to pricey aceto at over €99 per 225ml bottle (about 8 ounces). Mamma mia!
Since Torino is also the chocolate capital of Italy, I had to indulge and grabbed a few bites of Baratti e Milano Gianduia Chocolate before heading to the register. Lingotto is a wonderful day or evening escape from Torino. You can shop inside the old Fiat Factory; tour the old test track at the top of the building; catch a flick at the cinema next to Eataly; all this before grabbing the “catch of the day” on your plate.