Ben Gusto – Similar to the words “buon gusto” in italian, meaning “good taste.”
I’m Ben Gaiarin. An American-Italian. A 16-year-old living in many places at once, mostly in Italia. I tend to go back and forth between a vineyard estate in the region of Piemonte, Italy, and a house in the suburbs of northern Virginia. It’s funny, I’m never quite sure where I’ll be living next year. When I’m in the country of cibo (food), sometimes I’ll make a pit stop in Liguria, Italy, to see my nonni (Italian grandparents) and breathe the mountain air. While enjoying Nonna’s (Grandma) pastas and meats that are to die for.
My dad is an importer of fine international wines. My mom is a painter. Along with running a wine distributorship, we also produce a few wines from our small vineyard in Piemonte. The business keeps us traveling Europe, experiencing cuisine at its best, and enjoying what each culture has to offer. So my brother, a jolly lad that is two years older than me, and I are well traveled young adults. And along with each new experience, my gusto takes another step forward.
Ever since I was little I had a passion for the kitchen. When I was a toddler, I enjoyed serving plastic meals from a “fisher-price” kitchen set. Then I started to bake. Baking was a good way to start out because if you mess up a dessert, you don’t have a table of hungry stomachs telling you off. I cooked my first full meal around the age of 9, serving a dinner for seven family members. From that plate of beef, I took off from there. Little by little, I’ve been learning a valuable skill in the kitchen from my parents, my nonna, and a handful of cookbooks. Nowadays, my recipes tend to come from my house, or inspired by a cookbook. I’d like to avoid posting recipes that are completely from someone else I don’t know.
Cooking is only one passion. I’m also always focused on my sport, football (or as some call it soccer), along with the normal social business, traveling, a little skiing and golfing, and schoolwork.
I’ve realized I’m not the average kid. At times I live on a vineyard in Piemonte, a house in northern Virginia, in a Ligurian mountain village, or even this past year I stayed for 6 months in the historical center of Turin. After a while, the amount of odd stories I encounter start to rack up. So do the recipes as I learn to cook the italian way, and experiment with many different ingredients. And so, my idea for this blog was to show what it’s like to be a 16-year-old learning the ways of the forchetta in, and around, Italy’s best regions for gusto.