Salone del Gusto ended on Monday 29, but I can’t stop thinking about it.
Salone del Gusto, held in Turin, Italy, is a Slow Food biannual food fair and conference. To sum it up in these few words undermines everything else it is, too, and its importance as an event that brings together producers from all over the world. These are producers that grow ancient varieties of grain to save genetic biodiversity, that make Slow Food Presidia cheeses or salumi, that pipe their cannoli full of the freshest organic ricotta you’ve ever tasted, and whose principles and values align with your own and, it goes without saying, Slow Food’s – good, clean, and fair food for all.
This year, Salone del Gusto was a marriage of the original Salone del Gusto, first held in 2006, and Terra Madre, first held in 2004. While both events had food artisans and producers from all over the world, different activities were held at each and were not all accessible to the public. Salone del Gusto focused more on the exposition and sale of high quality foods and products, while Terra Madre was a gathering of a network of food producers from around the world. Having never been to either of these before, I can’t offer judgment on the differences of before and after. What I would love to do is share my first-time impressions of this year’s.
To say Salone is a food fair means that, like your down-home county fair, the place is jumping with activity – with a few notable differences. The funnel cakes are replaced with French butter cookies in 20 different flavors, the groundhog whacking game is replaced with the foodie’s (divisive word, I know) form of fun, that is vertical Barolo wine tastings, and that feeling of riding the Zipper right after you eat your funnel cake is replaced by the feeling of pressing up against crowds right after you drink your Barolo wines.