A curious project, that of Gabriele De Santis and his group of artist friends, who in a short time had managed to create a unique place in the capital, where you can admire and buy the works of contemporary artists, taste an excellent filter or espresso coffee, and also to buy particular plants.
The philosophy of Ortica
A place where culture was made, even before business, by accompanying visitors in tasting the precious black gold, the specialty beans carefully selected by Gabriele, an artist who loves good food and who seems to have found another form in quality coffee of expression. The project, however, was clear from the start: it was a temporary room, destined to close after a few months.
From Rome to Turin, with Mara dei Boschi
Change of set, Turin. Piazza Carlo Emanuele II: this is where Ortica is reborn, firmer than ever, with the complicity of a sign that has made school in the panorama of Piedmontese ice cream. It is Mara dei Boschi, an excellent ice cream shop among the best in Italy that boasts three locations, one of which – the one in the square that the inhabitants of Turin affectionately call “Carlina” – also dedicated to artisan chocolate for some time.
Mara dei Boschi between coffee and tea
After the food of the gods, Mara dei Boschi is now betting on coffee, with the beans of Artisan Roast, Scottish roasting much loved by Gabriele, who here juggles espresso and filter coffee. But not only: another great passion of the artist is tea, and not just any one. We are talking about the selections of Postcard Teas, a group of international importers that for over 20 years has been committed to promoting single-origin teas and top-quality blends, enhancing the niche productions of the countries of origin, preferring smaller companies, and offering products of first choice. Which from Mara dei Boschi are infused in a workmanlike manner, following the parameters of Chinese and Japanese rituals.
Ice cream and food pairings
At noon, then, we start with ice cream, the usual one, natural and delicious, while in the evening we move on to the food pairings. Green light, therefore, to pepper ice cream with truffle chips and anchovy perlage, dark chocolate with capers and herbs and many other intriguing proposals.
Raw materials and the link with art
In short, a place suitable for every hour and need, where all the ingredients are carefully and rigorously selected. There are the wild strawberries of Sergio Maritano di Cumiana, the gentle round hazelnuts of the Alta Langa and then the specialties produced by the artists, such as the lemons of Renato Leotta or the honey of the designer Marlene Huissoud. But artistic contaminations are also perceptible in the gastronomic offer itself: just think of the box of cubes-pixels – gianduia chocolate squares designed for the pixel collection of Vanni, a leading company in the optics field – or the limited edition cremino, a copy in staircase of the concrete and gold cube by Piero Golia, currently on display at the Venice Biennale.
Mara dei Boschi – Turin
ph. Michela Becchi