Piedmont in Italy’s north-west is home to more heritage-listed cheeses and wines than anywhere in Italy. It is the home of truffles, gorgonzola, Castelmagno, nebbiolo and the best hazelnuts in the world. Dario Milano is a Piedmont man. His restaurant, Milano Torino, is one of the only places in Sydney that specialises in the food of the region. Being close to the mountains and only two hours from the sea, Piedmont encompasses a lot of the produce and influences from the rest of the country. Piedmont’s food is deliciously and unavoidably heavy, there’s a lot of butter, egg yolks, game meat, polenta and carbs. The most famous expression of this is agnolotti dal plin, Piedmont’s version of a stuffed pasta. At Milano Torino it is made daily. Traditionally they’re covered in a sauce of butter and sage and stuffed with a mixture of three different roast meats. Milano serves them like this, but only in winter. When it’s warmer the meat is switched out for a stuffing of spinach and ricotta. Two Piedmont classics are vitello tonnato (veal simmered in vegetable both then cooled and topped with capers, tuna and mayonnaise) and creamy, soft potato gnocchi with gorgonzola and walnuts. Because the region is famous for its chocolate and hazelnuts, these feature in the desserts, such as the pudding-like chocolate panna cotta. While you’re dining, you might get an interesting insight into how dishes are made. Milano is a professional photographer who often shoots his process live and projects the kitchen activity onto a wall of the restaurant.
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