coffee

Le Sorelle del Conte

I want to start by saying that Turin is my most favorite city I have visited in Italy, thus far. Tell that to any local and they will usually respond with a slight gasp, giggle, or quizzical look. Don’t let this deter you! While Turin may not be saturated with art and historical landmarks like many other cities in Italy, it has so much more to offer in terms of cuisine and jaw dropping views of the Italian Alps. Turin is home to the largest open air market in Europe, host of the Salone del Gusto, a gastronomical food expo, and is located in the Piedmont region whose chocolate is internationally renown. To say the city of Turin is a foodies paradise would be an understatement. Restaurants all over the city are putting gastronomical spins on classic Piedmontese and Northern Italian dishes using innovative cooking techniques and pairings.

While my parents and I ate many delicious meals, one cafe had us coming back for more. This delightful place goes by the name of Le Sorelle del Conte, a few blocks off of one of the city’s main streets. Keeping with Piedmontese tradition, they feature a speciality chocolate coffee on their menu. The chocolate from the Piedmont region is so decadent, rich, and creamy, that there is no hesitation to add it to the caffé. The Caffé del Conte sets itself apart from the rest by adding not only chocolate cream to their morning pick-me-up, but warm whole milk, pistachio cream and chopped pistachios as well. This makes for a sweet, bitter, slightly salty, and oh so very decadent beverage. If my description did not at least peak your interesting in upping your daily coffee routine, perhaps this photo will…

Caffe del Conte: espresso, warm cream, chocolate cream, pistachio cream, steamed milk, & shopped pistachios

Caffe del Conte: espresso, warm milk, chocolate cream, pistachio cream, steamed milk, & chopped pistachios

Imagine the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when embracing someone you haven’t seen in a long time, or the coziness of sticking your feet in front of the fireplace after a long day out in the cold. Those same feelings are evoked by this luscious and creamy drink. This was my first time ever trying pistachio cream. It’s flavor was buttery and salty, a nice counterbalance to the sweet chocolate. I highly recommend adding this to your repertoire of nut butters and spreads!

Whether you prefer to start your day decadently, get your second wind in the afternoon with an enhanced espresso, or end your day with its richness and warmth, this drink fits the bill every time. It’s also a fun drink to make on your own, if you don’t have access to Le Sorelle del Conte in Turin 😉 Play around the ratios of coffee, chocolate, cream, and pistachio to create a personalized pick me up for those cold days I know you are all facing over there on the East coast.

As always, enjoy and share with your best company!

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Portland, ME for Foodies

Since moving back to New Hampshire for the summer I’ve been itching to get back to that urban atmosphere, so when I saw the kickass forecast for the past few days I knew it was the perfect opportunity to give that itch a good ol’ scratch. Said itch was scratched by the amazing city of Portland, Maine. Now, most people outside of the New England area hear Maine and think moose, snow, and “that’s pretty much Canada isn’t it?”. Well, to those people I say you are doing yourself a huge injustice by missing out on all this great state has to offer, but I also say more for the people who recognize its awesomeness. Portland is about a 45 minutes drive from the ME/NH border and is nestled onto a peninsula along Casco Bay. Portland has always been a popular summertime tourist attraction due to its great ocean views and activities, however in the last 10 years or so the city has really come into its own and become a budding cultural epicenter (and possibly home of the original hipster, but don’t tell Brooklyn or Portland, OR). Unique shops and restaurants began popping up on every corner and started to fill up every block. They even have their very own Urban Outfitters (the true stamp of a trendy city, HA HA HA). But let me get onto what I know you all came here for, THE FOOD!

First off there is such a variety offered from your staple seafood joints, to Indian, to organic/ Farm to Table, and American fusion style cafés. I had the pleasure of spending 2 whole days wondering the city while visiting some friends, and I can honestly say almost every little neighbor has its own handful of exciting edibles. I unintentionally ended up eating my way through Portland tasting a plethora of iced coffees, soup (Kamasouptra), freshly made smoothies (Maine Squeeze), pizza, cakes, doughnuts, gelato, and a pretty impressive breakfast sandwich (Mister Bagel). Portland is also the perfect size in which you can walk practically anywhere, but as a result of my constant walking (and Portland’s variety of elevation) I didn’t get the chance to photograph everything I ate! Peep what I was able to capture on camera before I so gracefully stuffed it into my face, below.

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Honey Baby Latte- Local Sprouts Co-Op

The Honey Baby Latte from Local Sprouts Co-Op on Congress St, is the perfect marriage of aromatic, nutty coffee and cinnamon, nutmeg, and local/organic honey. For someone with a killer sweet tooth ,like myself, this drink was the perfect balance of sweet and bitter. I got it iced because, well it’s Portland in the summertime, and it was amazingly refreshing!

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Vena’s Fizz House

This is actually the one spot I regret not ordering from before I left, but let me tell you I WILL be back! Vena’s Fizz House on Fore Street, is a super-innovative mixology shop & soda fountain that pumps out both alcoholic and non, uniquely flavored beverages. The retail section also has probably one of the widest varieties of cocktail fixings, paraphernalia, and mixes outside of a kitchen supply store. My favorite item is stored in the back inside a large, opened up china/buffet cabinet. These beauties are called Infusion Kits, and are mason jars filled with dried fruits, herbs, and spices that come with a recipe simply recommending what liquor to pair the contents with. There was such a wide variety of flavors that I couldn’t choose just one, but I assure you I’ll be picking some up to try in the very near future!

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Apple, Bacon, and Red Onion- OTTO Pizza

I also had to stop and grab lunch from OTTO Pizza because what’s a trip to Portland without it, right? I am  going to spare you the details on my one slice, which was a sweet and savory, perfectly crunchy slice, and tell you to just get your ass there and try any of their amazing and constantly changing flavor combos for yourself (in fact, if you’re staying in town for a few days I would suggest getting a whole pie or 2!). OTTO makes such a killer pizza with simple and fresh ingredients, it’s comparable to NYC pies that have won over my heart the past 2 years. There are tons of locations throughout Portland and Boston, so just get there already!

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Sweet Potato Donut w/ Ginger Glaze- The Holy Donut

Since Portland is no stranger to the innovative food scene, of course they have an eclectic doughnut shop cutely named, The Holy Donut. What makes their doughnuts extra-special and unique is their potato base which gives the doughnuts a more fluffily, cake-like consistency (which I prefer). They had so many unique flavors to choose from, from dark chocolate sea salt to Allen’s coffee brandy. I went with the Ginger Glazed Sweet Potato. It had a clean, almost carrot cake like flavor, was not super fried or greasy, and had a refreshing finish with the ginger glaze. Definitely recommend this spot on Exchange Street for when you’re craving that little extra somethin’!

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Iced Coffee & Nectarine Coffee Cake- Katie Made Bakery

I picked up my last little snack before laying out at the Eastern Promenade from Katie Made Bakery on Munjoy Hill. It was later in the day but this little bakery was still pumping out fresh baked goods and pastries. I landed on a piece of nectarine coffee cake and an iced coffee. I had never seen a coffee cake quite like this one. The top of the cake was more crust-like than crumbly, and I was nervous the cake would be dry as a result, but I was pleasantly surprised! This little cake was flavorful, moist, and chocked full of sliced nectarines. I could definitely see Katie Made being up there on my go-to list of places off Portland’s beaten path.

Upon this last trip I have truly fallen in love with the city of Portland, Maine. It has so much to offer and seems to just be built for exploring! I’m looking forward to spending my last summer in New England discovering this beautiful city and all of its food and adventure.

 

***If you absolutely cannot make it up to Portland (which I find rather hard to believe because this place is totally worth the trip) many of these bangin’ eats are available to be shipped practically nationwide! You can also find Vena’s Fizz Shop Infusion Kits on Etsy!**

Birdbath Bakery

Birdbath Bakery is the eco-friendly, green little sister of City Bakery, and has locations throughout the city. I visited the location tucked into an antique bakery shop awning on Prince Street in SoHo. There is no Birdbath signage so its easy to miss but can be identified by the drool-inducing towers of cookies in the windows. Open at 8am, the shop is filled with delectable sweet and savory pastries, breads, and baked goods, and by lunch time also has some gourmet salads and sandwiches added to their repertoire. I stopped in around 3:30pm and was still greeted by both freshly baked pastries and savory salads and sandwiches. I was so overwhelmed by the amazing variety of selections that I asked the gent behind the counter what he thought best to try for my 1st visit to Birdbath. He suggested the Baker’s Muffin (their signature pastry), and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. This delectable little muffin is any thing but little, or a muffin really. It is a pull apart pastry baked into a muffin tin. The layers, nooks, crannies, and crevices are smothered in cinnamon and sugar and have raisins, baked apples, and bountiful walnuts tucked into the folds. It comes out of the oven with a candy crusted shell and is ever-so-delicately dusted with powerderd sugar. Now I must warn you, this is not a pastry for the faint of heart. It’s quite a decent size and is pretty good at convincing your tummy it has just eaten a full meal…A full meal of pure joy!! The Baker’s Muffin is truly one of the most unique pastries I have had in a long time and is perfect to share with a friend, or keep all for yourself (no judgment here). Birdbath Bakery has definitely gained a new customer and I will be back soon to try some of their savory options very soon. Put this on your list of go-to spots if your tummy ever gets a little rumbly while strolling through SoHo!

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Inside the Bakers Muffin

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Birdbath’s Signature Pastry