Piedmont is for sure one of the best places in the world to organize il Salone Internazionale del Gusto, which is untypical international food fairs. If you have been following my blog for some time I’m sure you already noticed that food plays a significant role in this region and a lot of events, touristic attractions and everyday life is focused around fantastic Italian tastes and wonderful wines. Consider this, it isn’t surprising that Slow Food was born here, in Barolo town. At the beginning its activity was limited to Langhe and Roero, then they spread over Italy and finally they reached the rest of the world.
Since 1996 (every two years) in Turin producers, farmers and breeders associated with this non-profit organization have been meeting and presenting their products. On a huge space under the roof you could walk for hours and taste different cheese, hams, sweets, liquors and even unknown cosmetics. The scale of undertaking was really big, quantity of interesting products to choose so wide, that after five hours of going around I had an impression that I took a closer look only at the minority of stands.
The exhibitors were divided geographically. In first three halls you were taken for tour around Italian cuisine – from north to Sicily. Street Food and Pizza area offered plenty of different dishes to your choice and Enoteca a big variety of wines to taste (extra charged).
What I really like the way how it was organized. Walking from one stand to another you could not only taste (for free or extra charged, but in this case the portions were much bigger), but also purchase. For those who wanted to take a break and eat something while sitting, wine bars and mini restaurants were available in each hall. For all who wanted to learn something new about food and had some time left numerous conferences were organized.
Because I’m Polish I couldn’t miss the chance to pop in area with Polish specialties: meads (alcoholic liquor made from honey , can be served hot), Polish kabanos (long, thin, dried sausage), but also some Polish dishes to taste, like sauerkraut with meat or pierogi (dumplings), for example. But what I liked the best was a delicious, juicy roasted ham, served with buraczki (cooked beets –another Polish specialties). Really good!
From all the variety of fantastic products what attract my attention it was a basil drink offered in Ligurian area or lemon drink called Cedral from Lombardy made from special green lemons. I saw a lot of niche Italian beers, pasta from Lazio – in different colors and shapes. From Piedmont I discovered another type of sweets – Baci di Cherasco, dark chocolate with small hazelnut pieces inside in irregular shapes.
In the last hall it was created a big garden that illustrated an amazing Slow Food project – a Thousand gardens in Africa.
Il Salone Internazionale del Gusto has remained in my mind as an interesting place to discover the whole world with your sense of smell and taste, to do unusual shopping, to learn something new about food and to have a break eating very well.