Gambero Rosso: Mara dei Boschi in Turin: after ice cream and chocolate comes coffee

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, specialty beans carefully selected by Gabriele, an artist who loves good food who seems to have found another form in quality coffee of expression. The project, however, was clear from the start: it was a temporary venue, 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 a mark on the Piedmontese ice cream scene. It is Mara dei Boschi, one of the best ice cream parlors in Italy that boasts three locations, one of which – the one in the square that the Turinese affectionately call “Carlina” – has long been dedicated to artisan chocolate.

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, a Scottish roaster much loved by Gabriele, who here juggles between espresso and filter coffee. But not only that: 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 and high-quality blended teas, enhancing the niche productions of the countries of origin, preferring smaller realities, and offering first choice. Which from Mara dei Boschi are infused to perfection, following the parameters of Chinese and Japanese rituals.

Ice cream and food pairings

At noon, then, we start with ice cream, the same as always, natural and delicious, while in the evening we move on to food pairings. Go ahead, then, for 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 selected with attention and rigor. There are the wild strawberries by Sergio Maritano from Cumiana, the gentle round hazelnuts from the Alta Langa and then the specialties produced by the artists, such as the lemons by Renato Leotta or the honey by designer Marlene Huissoud. But the artistic contaminations are also perceptible in the gastronomic offer itself: just think of the box of cubes-pixels – squares of gianduia chocolate designed for the pixel collection of Vanni, a leading company in the field of optics – or the limited edition cremino, a copy in staircase of the cube of concrete and gold by Piero Golia, currently on display at the Venice Biennale.

Curated by Michela Becchi