About Sasha H
Lives in Healey, United Kingdom
Since Jan 2015
I’ve swum with wild dolphins in the Maldives, fed baby kangaroos in Australia, spent hours in the shopping malls of Dubai and crash-landed a hot-air balloon in Poland – having spent the last decade travelling and freelancing, I am a joyful, nosy traveller, always meeting new experiences head on. I enjoy digging into the culture, listening to what’s happening around me and taking thousands of photos on the way. Thanks to two decades of travelling extensively through Europe, the Middle and Far East and the Caribbean, I know the cities and countries I write about inside out. And even though I live in the Yorkshire Dales – surely the most beautiful place on earth – I never lose my enthusiasm for skiing in Zermatt, visiting my favourite cities in Italy and Poland or discovering new places to shop in Dubai.
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Flea & Street Markets, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Farmers Markets
Gift & Speciality Shops
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Part market, part restaurant and as close to culinary heaven as it’s possible to be, the Eataly brand is currently taking the gastronomic world by storm. As befits the culinary capital of northern Italy, Turin has two outposts of the store, the one in Lingotto being the original branch. Counters groan and shelves dazzle with delicious specialities from Piedmont’s ‘Slow Food’ producers, including organic cheeses, smoked meats, hand-crafted breads and pizzas, olive oils, pastries, and the exquisite chocolate-and-hazelnut spread called gianduja. Eataly is also a one-stop gourmet destination, with its dozen or so food restaurants serving up treats such as grilled prawns laced with garlic, pasta stuffed with tomatoes and thyme, and the local fizz from Asti.
Possibly one of the most beautiful shopping streets in Europe, pedestrianized and arcaded Via Roma marches north through Turin city center, in a series of ever-more-gloriously Baroque plazas lined with the boutiques of high-end designers as well as the glamorous cafés of Piazza San Carlo. Predictably for the home of Piedmont cuisine, international brands such as Gucci, Yves St Laurent, Ferragamo, and Louis Vuitton share street space with fragrant delis offering sheep’s cheeses, smoked meats, olive oils, and heavy Barolo wines at hefty prices.
In the elegant arcades of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and with window displays of sheer culinary beauty, piled high with smoked salamis, regional cheeses and handmade pastas; Gerla 1927 is one of Turin’s best-loved gourmet hotspots. Inside salads, olive oils, fine wines, and fresh pesto beckon from marble counters and elegant glass shelves laid out below twinkling chandeliers. Pick up a gourmet treat from the pasticceria’s range of delicious tarts, pastries stuffed with chocolate and hazelnut, or lighter-than-light macaroons. Alternatively spend a happy evening in the gleaming, white Orangerie brasserie tucked behind the store, where seasonal menus might include champagne risotto, foie gras, or carpaccio of veal.
Turin has around 40 produce markets, but Europe’s biggest, noisiest, and most enticing food market of all sprawls over 800 stalls across Piazza della Repubblica and is the best spot to source picnic goodies, fresh fruit and veg, well-hung local beef, and mounds of giant prawns at decent prices. As well as food, the market has four covered arcades dedicated to an odd mix of bargain clothes, flowers, cleaning products, cheap luggage, and tatty souvenirs of doubtful origin. It’s easy to spend a whole morning absorbed in tracking down bargains.
Even in the capital city of Italian chocolate, Peyrano is regarded by those in the know as the king pin of confectioners. A family-owned business since 1912, the company is revered for creating Piedmont’s traditional chocolate-and-hazelnut-flavored pralines, known as gianduiotti, wrapped in their distinctive silver and blue foil. Chocolates come in around 90 flavors and shapes from grappa to honey, all beautifully presented under chandeliers in original glass showcases. There’s also a wood-paneled bar for ordering a midday espresso along with one of Peyrano’s darling little cakes. In summer locals flock in after work for Turin’s best ice cream served under umbrellas on the street.
Turin’s longest arcaded and pedestrianized shopping street, Via Garibaldi, runs northwest between the city’s central hub of Piazza Castello and the grassy expanse of Piazza Statuo. It is an enclave of mid-range stores, from international brands such as Nike, Foot Locker, the Japanese interiors chain MUJI, and the stylish department store Corte Garibaldi. Turin’s famous soccer team Juventus also has its shop on Via Garibaldi, almost on the corner of Piazza Castello. Diving down the alleyways leading south off Via Garibaldi leads straight into Turin’s oldest district, the Quadrilatero Romano, where streets were formed using the ancient Roman grid pattern. Here you’ll unearth artisan workshops and sleek independent boutiques in Via dei Mercanti, Via Bonelli, and Via San Tommaso.
This home of fresh pasta in Turin was established more than 150 years ago and has been turning out dozens of different varieties ever since. All homemade in nearby kitchens, Defilippis products are made from free-range eggs, pure mineral water from the nearby Alps, and durum wheat flour. They come in all shapes and guises, from neat little tortellini stuffed with aubergine, tomato, and mozzarella to the long, delicate strings of the wonderfully named 'cappelli d’angelo' (angel's hair), the Piedmont delicacy of agnolotti ravioli stuffed with ragu, and gnocchi dumplings filled with potato and rosemary. Pick up a ready-prepared takeaway dish or eat in the cosy little restaurant upstairs.
Stylish, independent boutiques are springing up among the artisan workshops that have been scattered for decades throughout the narrow, grid-like streets of old Turin. It’s worth spending a couple of hours hunting down vintage clothes, pretty ceramics, or wacky jewelry, stopping off from time to time to refuel at multi-ethnic pavement cafés and bars. Via Bonelli reveals a cluster of sleek boutiques run by young designers and other stylish mainstays of the area include clothing emporium Born in Berlin on Via San Dalmazzo and the minimalist designs at Autopsie Vestimentaire on Via Mazzini.