Uovo pochè impanato su asparagi con pancetta croccante
Tommaso Baldassarri
Country: Italy
City: 10122 Torino
Address: via Monte di Pietà 23
(+39) 11 2767661
Closed: Saturday midday and Sunday.
Price: 45 €
Tasting menu:: 35 €

         Since its opening in November 2008, Il Consorzio has become the most dazzling and fashion place in the city, the restaurant of the revolution that has been carried out in Torino. “The restaurant of the Italian revolution”, says our friend Cristian Bucci, whose job has made him travel all around the world. Created by Andrea Gherra and Pietro Vergano, two passionate thirty-old men, this business was immediately a great success without imitating any model or trend –although it may seem incredible: it is hard to improvise without culture nor animus pugnandi… Together with Tommaso Baldassarri, chef in the region of Marches, they provided the place with a simple, casual and young atmosphere that reflects their professionalism, the quality of the raw materials and the value for money they offer. Pietro, who is very fond of wines and perfectly knows what “renaissance des AOC” is all about, has created a unique wine list that is perhaps not exceptional regarding number of labels, but very varied regarding geographical origins (Italy, France, Spain, Germany). He offers great bottles made by small artisan producers, –very well-known in the wine sector or not at all– who generally turn to offer the best PDO wines, despite of not being present in the rankings and official networks. Get ready, choose a region or a vineyard, listen to his advice and trust him: you won’t regret it! Prices start from €9 for a bottle of genuine, artisan wine…
As soon as you sit down, you are served an Americano as appetizer: don’t forget you are in Turin! Enjoy this classic in all its splendor (€3.50): 2 ice cubes, 1 segment of blood orange, bitter vermouth made by Mauro Vergano (Pietro’s uncle, who produces chianti and vermouth in the old town of Asti: an exceptional product), a splash of soda added in front of you and… enjoy! For greater glory, order some freshly sautéed Spanish anchovies and some slices of bread and butter…
The menu is explained by Andrea, who best knows and chooses the raw materials. And here is the reason why these young cooks make the difference: their curiosity, their passion and their thirst for knowledge allow them to reach a high level of ability and professionalism possessed by very few cooks of their age, even more so in a big city such as Torino. This cuisine based on simple constructions usually gives priority to pure tasting of a top product. In the actual context of big confusion in the restaurant-industry, this could be really significant. Take bread, for example, which is made here on a daily basis with organic flour from Sobrino mill and with mother yeast: Bravo! This proves that you don’t need to go to a smart restaurant to get good bread on the table. The chapter on fish, which reflects Andrea’s praiseworthy clairvoyance, is also amazing: no tuna nor swordfish nor sea bass; just paddlefish, sea bream, umbrine and similar species (Gallina’ s fish shop), exclusively served with tartare sauce or grilled.
          The cold meats (from la Cascina Savoiarda, in Roero), served with the delightful bread of the house and pasture butter, are really good and –above all– original. Don’t miss the raw meats either: sausage tartare made with Fassone meat all'Albese and Fassone steak tartare (the quality and the size of the piece of meat, unique in the city, almost recalls Marsupino’s mastery in Briaglia). All the varieties of pasta are handmade and homemade. In addition to the “Gobbo” lamb stuffed with meat and cooked in butter, Tommaso proposes some passatelli in capon broth, with a pinch of Parmesan cheese –the  right quantity to avoid masking the nutmeg and the lemon peel. Among the main courses, the one devoted to the “fifth quarter” of the veal has already become a classic: a fantastic cold salad made of innards cooked with anchovy sauce. The brains coated with cereals and the sweetbread coated with puffed rice, followed by a sauce of cow womb with beans and onion, are also superbly made. Don’t hesitate at the moment of ordering the Fassone beef: top quality raw material and perfectly raw. Or the suckling pig marinated with mustard and honey, served in rolls. We also recommend the hamburger, exquisite (unfortunately served only for lunch), with its aromatic bread (from Perino’s) and its delicious Angus beef mixed with smoked Cinta Senese pork ear (from Paolo Parisi’s). And to end up, try the different varieties of Piedmont cheese from L’Arbiora di Gian Domenico Negro.
         Since last winter (2010-2011), the chef’s culinary technique has made a leap forward, as the following dishes show: poached egg coated with asparagus served with a drop of cheese cream and crunchy pork belly from Paolo Parisi’s; the minimalist –but extremely refined and palatally precise– capon and endive salad with chestnut bread and citrus; or the incommensurable raviolis stuffed with innards lain over a layer of beans with sweet and sour red onion.
          In short, Il Consorzio rimes with pleasant atmosphere, good wines, simple cuisine made with good raw materials, good bread, excellent cold meats, homemade pasta, Fassone beef, fresh fish and Arbiora cheese. All this is proposed at a very reasonable price. What can seem obvious in some regions is something almost impossible in a big modern city.
          Tommaso already holds the future in his hands. He reached this with the passion he feels inside, which will definitely raise him to the highest spheres of gastronomy.