Turin | Consorzio

In Turin a couple of weeks ago, I was prepared for one of those boring pre-conference, semi-political, involved formal dinners. But Fabio Malanghino had a different evening in store. He’d booked at Consorzio, boasting it takes weeks to get a table there. Yeah, yeah, that’s what they all say. But afterwards, it wasn’t so hard to believe. Legend has it the premises in central Turin, in a quiet side street only minutes from the buzzing Quadrilatero, housed a bakery which covered for an illegal left-wing print shop during the war. Today’s unassuming interiors, friendly service and a limited menu fronted for my best meal of 2013 so far.

It proceded from the lightest of baby frittatas with herbs, through beef that melted in your mouth (both accompanied by various excellent home-made breads and focaccias), to conclude with a silky pannacottaI’ll remember forever. While firmly rooted in Piedmont, the menu plucks some of the finest fruits of gastronomic tradition from all over the peninsula, many of them Slow Food presidia and/or from organic or biodynamic farms, and serves them up with fearless creative flair. The wine list keeps to the same criteria of traditional, natural distinction.

That’s the philosophy, manically applied, that inspired Andrea Gherraand Pietro Vergano to make the leap from working in F&B to opening their own eatery around 5 years ago. It’s casual and not necessarily expensive (a full meal from the tasting menu will set you back €32 and there are easily affordable wines), but you can be sure that radical research in the field informs the choice of every single element on your plate or in your glass, and there’s a list of suppliers to tell you exactly where it came from. Back in the kitchen, chef Miro Mattalia is as handsome as he is talented. It’s almost a pity to keep him behind closed doors; he should have one of those glass kitchens or do show cooking… Thanks so much Giampiero Colletti, Fabio Malanghino, Vincenzo Cosenza, Francesco Vanin, Roberta Bertero, Massimo Carlini and Anna Masera for the great company.