Thursday, November 16, 2006

Turin Day 3 – Salone del Gusto

The “Salone del Gusto” is a five day food festival presented by the Slow Food Movement & held every two years at the old Fiat Factory. According to an article I found on the BBC website: approved Slow Food producers set up stalls and sell their foods to the general public, give talks, hold workshops, attend seminars and meet with like-minded producers from around the world, regardless of whether they make English Single Gloucester cheese or pick wild vanilla pods in Mexico.

The Slow Food Movement was created by Carlo Pertrini in 1986, initially to protest the opening of a McDonalds store in Rome (at the Spanish Steps). From those humble beginnings the movement has grown into a worldwide organisation with over 80,000 members. It promotes traditional foods, recipes & promotes the producers of those products. Its aim is to "protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenisation of modern fast food and life". In the last few years, it opened a University of the Science of Gastronomy in Pollenzo, Italy.

A ticket to the Salone is not cheap: a one day ticket costs 20 Euros & any additional tasting you may want to try will set you back between 1 – 5 Euros each.

I was lucky to have been given a ticket (a five day ticket) by an American family I met at the hotel who couldn’t stay for the whole festival as they had to leave for Milan. This particular pass allowed me to jump the queue (an hour long just to purchase a one-day ticket) & pretty much wander straight in. I met these two lovely Italian ladies while queuing to see which queue we were supposed to be in so we spent the next 3½ hrs wandering through the Salone.

We saw pretty much everything that there was to see: stand after stand of producers from all over the world, showing off their products; be they Jamon Iberico from Spain; Welsh/Scottish beef; Traditional English Beers; sushi; wines; grappa; jams & conserves; coffees; chocolate (as if I didn’t get enough chocolate already); Prosciutto di San Danielle & so on. Just about every country in Europe was represented.

The main emphasis seemed to be cheeses…there were an inordinate amount of cheeses on display.

There was one hall that is dedicated to “endangered” foods from all over the world. Again the emphasis seemed to be on cheeses.

It was quite an experience to be there but after 3½ hrs of pushing your way through an increasing number of people as the day wore on, I’d had enough (especially of all cheeses !!).

Well...with our time in Turin over, the next post will be from the town of Asti (famous for Asti Spumante & Moscato d'Asti).

Until then...take care.



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