On our recent Zingerman’s Food Tour of Piedmont, in northwestern Italy, the group spent a very fun day with Chef Beppe Sardi. For the first half of the day, we went shopping for the ingredients for that afternoon’s cooking class. We shopped in Alessandria, on an amazing street of one high-quality food store after another. The Chef knew everyone of course, and people were constantly stopping him on the street to say hello.
We bought many kinds of meat, but not at only one butcher store – we stopped at three: one that specialized in poultry, one in pork, and one in beef. These were all within a few blocks of eachother. Early on he stopped at one little store to buy milk, butter, and flour.
The shop where we bought cheese also sold all kinds of salamis.
We admired the freshly made pasta, all shapes, sizes, and fillings, but did not need to buy any, since that evening we made our own from scratch. And we took a break for a few minutes at a cafe mid-morning, to enjoy a local specialty that is essentially a mini-cappuccino, with far less milk than a regular cappuccino – this means it’s acceptable to drink by Italian standards, even though it was no longer first thing in the morning!
We bought some beautiful fresh mushrooms, which we later used to make a light pasta sauce.
Turns out that Borsalino, the famous Italian hats, originated in Alessandria, and we were walking right by their original store. So, we had to go in for a quick peek. And one guest bought a lovely hat!
One of our last stops was a tiny produce store, which we had gone back to because it was too crowded to go in the first time we walked by it. Chef bought a few more things, and then we headed back to the Marquesa’s estate for lunch and a brief rest, before putting on our aprons and cooking our multi-course dinner!
Stay tuned, for a post about our cooking class.