Thanks to Salone del Gusto, the Slow Food event of a lifetime, I have to go shopping for a larger pants size and maybe a visit to the doctor to control my liver function.
Arriving at the Lingotto Convention Center in Turin’s city center, I was blown away by the sheer size of the event. Comprised of 5 expansive pavilions, 3 dedicated to Italy’s regional cuisines, and the rest to the international community, there were more than enough foods to taste and people to meet. The sheer size of the event justified the fact that I was there for 4 days, though certain products definitely kept me coming back for more free tasters 😉
Unlike many of the patrons of the event, I went with a mission, to promote Ferrarini’s Italian food community I Sapori Della Nostra Terra by handing out information cards and giving mini presentations to the various producers there. Let’s just say I made a lot of friends, connected with people both professionally and personally, through the free tasters offered at their booths.
In a delirium of wine, artisan beer, cheese, cured meat, and sweets, I lost myself in the labyrinth of Italy’s regions. This past weekend, I ate enough bread dipped in olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, Sicilian Cannoli, cured meat, Parmigiano Reggiano, and unidentifiable fried delicacies to induce immediate cardiac arrest. Fortunately however, my body is used to gluttonous abuse from the way that I’ve been eating/drinking for the duration of this past year at the University.
To seem more official, I presented myself to producers as “Michelle Aspis, a student at the University of Gastronomic Sciences,” in a desperate effort to find work, and share a moment with the producers I have met over the past year in an effort to evade my quasi-inevitable return to the US.
Salone del Gusto, in a way, was a culmination of my entire gastronomic education. A truly Grassroots Gourmet experience, the Olympic tournament reserved for those with a stomach and a heart for good food and unforgettable people.
I once read a book called that tried to explain why Italians constantly talk about food, but only in experiences such as this can one truly understand the depth and importance of the world of food for a culture that depends so heavily upon cuisine to progress economically, governmentally, and most importantly, emotionally. Being at Salone del Gusto was like sharing a meal with the entire country, a nonverbal understanding between food lovers about what it means to live to eat, to eat to live, and to survive in a world that seems to sometimes spin out of control.