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Slow Masters Small-scale producers in Piemonte, Italy

There are many good things to experience in this region of Italy. One of them is the abundance of small-scale producers of all sorts. Our emphasis when traveling there is generally on foods and gastronomy - there is some of the best food on the planet here - but it seems that the region is trying to give artisans of all types respect and recognition.

This Travel Note is offered to those of you who would like to find some of these artisans or their products, in the hopes of enriching your trip, and also of benefiting these small producers.

Some of the resources are more user-friendly than others, but even those that demand a bit more effort can be useful. I supply them as a list, not necessarily in any special order, and I hope that you will find at least one that may be useful as a starting point.

They cover quite a large range of crafts: woodworking; restoration; gold-smithing; ceramics; artistic printing; textile and clothing; embroidery; glass, copper and wrought iron manufacturing; musical instruments production; pastry-making; production of cured meats, ice cream, chocolate, candy, nougat, high-quality beer, distilled beverages, liqueurs.

More space is devoted to food producers, as there are many of these in this part of Italy.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list - thankfully, there are new producers every year, so these resources have to be updated, and there are many other websites and publications that are not mentioned here. It is recommended to have Google Translate enabled in your browser, as some of these sites are in Italian only.

Buying from small-scale producers while traveling can be interesting and enjoyable, help the local economy, and give recognition to those who are sometimes striving to maintain traditions and quality, in times in which it is not always easy to do so.

1)
"Artisan Excellence" (Eccellenza artigiana)

A mark/logo established by the Piemonte Region Council/Chamber of Commerce, in order to give recognition to typical local craftsmanship of high quality.
Two publications are issued every year, one on food producers, the second on all other manufacturers. As of late 2016, this list included over 2500 businesses.

Food producers :
http://www.regione.piemonte.it/artigianato/dwd/eccellenza/elenco2016/alimentare.pdf

Other manufacturers :
http://www.regione.piemonte.it/artigianato/dwd/eccellenza/elenco2016/manifatturiero.pdf

The publications are well-organized, with a bilingual (Italian-English) preface at the beginning, and with a short bilingual introduction to each category.
The rest of the publication is in Italian only, however you can reach the producers' websites and contact information though the pages in each category, and generally get a good idea even if you don't know Italian. The lovely photos accompanying the descriptions make these excellent resources.

2) "The Artisan Portal" (Il Portale dell'Artigianato)

A Google Map with placemarks showing the locations of artisans in the region (includes parts of Liguria and eastern France). There is also a "Categories" window (top left) that opens with a list of categories and producers. A bit confusing at times (for example, "food" is translated to "power" in English) but offers another way of locating these producers.

http://artigianato.sistemapiemonte.it/vetrine/index.do

3) "Masters of Taste - Turin and Province" (Maestri di Gusto - Torino e Provincia)

A beautiful bilingual (Italian-English) publication put out by the Torino Province that includes over 250 small-scale food producers, recognized for their high quality of work. Well-organized and including photos, an excellent place to start if you're visiting only in the Torino province of Piemonte.

http://www.maestridelgustotorino.com/download/libro-maestri-del-gusto-2016.pdf

Website :
http://www.maestridelgustotorino.com/scopri-i-maestri-del-gusto/

4) A website with a general overview of Piemonte for tourists, including a search engine for artisans :

http://www.piemonteitalia.eu/it/component/gestoredati/elencohome/465/eccellenza-artigiana.html

Clicking on "Quick Find" will open a drop-down menu, with the option of searching according to category and province location (even down to town level - far right). Here, too, translation can be frustrating : the Biella province appears as "piston rod", and Cuneo as "wedge" - common translation errors on Italian websites - but the site provides an additional effort to connect tourists to the region.

5) Markets, Fairs and Events

There is hardly a week in Piemonte without some sort of event that supplies an opportunity for small producers to show their wares. These can range from annual large and colorful festivals, to routine weekly or monthly markets. These are good opportunities for slow travelers to connect with their locality. If you're staying in the countryside, your hosts might be aware of events like these. However, some of these can be missed by locals, or be considered "mundane" by them - so it's best to check on these resources as well.

a) Sagre Piemonte

A nice basic site that gives you a menu to check what events are taking place, according to province and date. The list is constantly updated, and dates of events are published as early as possible. There is a newsletter put out as well, if you prefer to receive the news by mail.

https://www.sagrepiemonte.it/lista-eventi

Clicking on "Map Festivals" (upper left) will open a Google Map with markers of all the events that are taking place at present :
https://www.sagrepiemonte.it/mappa-sagre-piemonte

b) A site giving lists of routine markets all over Italy. In the case of Piemonte, clicking on each province will open a list that gives a breakdown according to towns. Again, translation issues abound, so sometimes it's better just to look at the original page in Italian.

http://www.italiaambulante.com/mercatiPiemonte.asp

6) Another site with a general overview for tourists :

http://www.piemondo.it/

Scrolling down the index on the left can give some useful information, such as "organic markets in Piemonte", "antique markets", etc.

7) Google Maps

More and more small businesses are taking advantage of appearing here. Zooming in on the area you are traveling in can reveal surprises: a local coffee shop making their own blends, a farm outlet of local produce, a small grocery with local products, etc.

8) Il Golosario - http://www.ilgolosario.it/
An online guide to everything connected to food : producers, restaurants, etc., with a weekly newsletter. In Italian only, this can supply updates about new producers and businesses in this field. Provides a geographical and category search engine.

Happy traveling!

R0004273.JPG

A bottle of Genepy liqueur, and a jar of saffron honey - both manufactured by small-scale producers of Piemonte, from locally-grown material.

30268055976_db23486003_z.jpg

Hazelnuts waiting for processing at a small agriturismo.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Hi Joe
Some very useful guidance, info and links there. I looked at Il Golosario, I maestri del gusto for this trip and also stumbled across the Piemonte tourist info link at the last minute. My preference remains the Golosario, but there is no reason not to consider a variety of soues.

One nice idea in Torino, but currently not running (they say it will return), is the organised guided visits to artisan or historic producers, run through turismotorino website. On the same website the special markets are also listed.
regards
Ian
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Hi Joe
The word doc is attached (in PDF as word docs won't load for me). Those starred we've visited, enjoyed, would (and do) return to and would definitely recommend. Others are suggestions from a number of sources, or places which we've been to and not been impressed enough to return, but impressed enough to leave them on the list (i.e. not bad & not brilliant).

I've left the Ivrea & Cirie selections in - in the end we missed out Cirie, but found a gem of a place to eat in Ivrea, a place I'd make a detour to go to again.

I did put much of this into a Google Map, but echo Colo's advice that such things can remain unwieldy (as I found out), so I plan at some point to convert the layers to represent districts of Torino, so that a tighter selection can be printed and used as a printed map.

regards
Ian
 

Attachments

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Pauline

Forums Admin
@Ian Sutton that list could be a travel note, couldn't it? You could keep it updated after each trip. You can insert google maps into posts (if it is public) or link to it.

Did you see many vegan/vegetarian restaurants? My guess is that even though there are articles saying there are lots of them, there are not many.
 

joe

500+ Posts
A great list , Ian - some of the places I know, many others will get my attention now that you've recommended them.

I didn't see Gelateria Marchetti on your list - a rather new artisinal ice cream manufacturer, with a home blend of coffee as well. We ate there last time. Delicious. I believe there are two stores in the city - we sat at the one near the University of Torino.
http://www.albertomarchetti.it/

Another good book store if you're in need of anything connected to maps :
http://www.ilgiramondo.it/
Friendly owner.

We spent a few hours in Ivrea last time, and found it lovely. Unfortunately, on a Sunday, so shops were closed. But we had a lovely lunch at Trattoria Monferratto.
 

joe

500+ Posts
@Ian Sutton
Did you see many vegan/vegetarian restaurants? My guess is that even though there are articles saying there are lots of them, there are not many.

We saw two, but a look at the menus didn't impress us. Apparently we (vegetarians) will have to leave the fight to Torino's mayor :
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/...tarian-city-turin-residents-divided-meat-free

I wish her all the luck in the world - although she'll need much more than that in a city like Torino....
 

joe

500+ Posts
I did put much of this into a Google Map, but echo Colo's advice that such things can remain unwieldy (as I found out),

In what way? You can assign different symbols and colors to the placemarks in My Maps. But layers is also a good idea.
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Hi Joe
thanks for those recommendations - I'll add them to my list. Bookstores can also be useful places for our usual hunt for mushroom magazine(s), not too bad in Autumn, but a real wild goose chase the rest of the year (I eventually had success at the biggish edicola on via Lagrange. On another occasion it was an out of town hypermarket that came up trumps.

IRO the map, Torino is rather big, but by splitting into zones, the map is easily focused on that area. It took me a while to work out I could use different symbols, but I have used (and will still use) different colours. e.g. the big map is used by the phone / tablet, but the smaller maps are printed out in advance to allow more natural navigation.

Hi Pauline
Happy to be guided on the travel note side. Just let me know what to do (or pop it into the placeholder I now recall setting up).
As for vegan / vegetarian, yes whilst planning there were a number that came up, plus when you have the quality of produce we found at Le Primizie di Osvaldo (via San Quintino 48 - not 31/H as listed in my pdf), an apartment, plus supporting gastronomie should serve you well. The main market is brimming over with good food as well. One place - Ratatouille, corso Tortona 2, seems like it might be the place to eat out at, get a coffee and pastry at and shop for food at as well, a veritable vegan/vegetarian one-stop shop.

regards
Ian
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Off to cook up some of the deFillipis pasta now (zucca - pumpkin IIRC) after a lovely little starter of coppa (look away Joe and Pauline), smoked burratine (look away Pauline) and lambs-leaf lettuce from the garden. The weeks after a trip over there allow me to continue to taste the place!
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Back again - evidence if ever we needed it, that fast food doesn't need to be plasticised :) inside 20 mins from starting cooking, to eating and then posting about it!

the olive oil, basil and caperberries tossed into the pasta worked great for me, though less so some quickly toasted pinenuts (though the brains of the operation disagreed, so she liberated a few of mine). A little black pepper is now my 'auto-condimenting', but we agreed it didn't need the parmesan that I grated up just in case.
 

joe

500+ Posts
Off to cook .... after a lovely little starter of coppa (look away Joe and Pauline)

My little joke about Italy is that it's Paradise now, because Hell is awaiting its people on account of all the meat they eat!;)
Full disclosure : my wife usually brings back something made from a dead animal (this time even vacuum-packed at the macelleria!). So I'm in for a hot spell myself in the after-life....
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
On the upside, the Italians do eat it all, unlike us squeamish Brits and our predilection for plastic wrapped breast meat. The highlight (and most prized) part of the Torinese Finanziera dish being the cock's comb. That is something I have great respect for, that if an animal is killed, you don't just take the easy bits and throw away the rest. It still won't persuade me to eat tripe though!
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
the olive oil, basil and caperberries tossed into the pasta worked great for me

Last night I finished the jar of capers I brought back from Italy! We had tomatoes, mushrooms, courgettes, and capers with pasta.

They do eat a lot of meat in Italy but at least a vegetarian can get by in most regions.
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
I can see how frustrating it must be for vegans, as fresh pasta filled with tasty veg + herbs, and often simply tossed in olive oil can be wonderful, but most will have eggs in the pasta.
 

ellen

100+ Posts
Thanks for posting this link. I remember seeing an earlier version of this several years ago and wishing then, as now, that the other regions would produce something similar.
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Looks like I dropped the ball on getting @Ian Sutton 's Turin Notes posted! If you are still interested in doing this Ian, send me a message.
Hi Pauline
Happy to fit it in around my busy social calendar (joke ;) ). Let me know what to do and I'll give it a go
Regards
Ian
 
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