Thursday, November 02, 2006

Slow Food's "Salon del Gusto" Has Come and Conquered until 2008

And a good time was had by all!

Well..., that is after you actually got into the Slow Food Salon and the fun began. I would say it was well organized considering the enormity of the event and sheer numbers of presenters, vendors, producers and the scores of attendees. There were a few things they could improve on. It was a mass throng at the entrance with cash and card users mixed together, slowing down the process to a painful crawl. Major mistake to remember for the next edition,
Buy your tickets before hand,

on line, and don't wait in line to get in!

Then, of course, there were the masses of people. I found it difficult to get many shots of the products and such for the crowded booths. I also found it difficult to actually get to really check out the products as I found that I wanted to explore it all and that was a daunting task. Insight for next time. Perhaps skip the lunchtime afternoon crowds in favor of the late afternoon and evening lull. Or, take a couple of days to try and absorb it all. I found I was just trying to get my head around all the categories and what they all were actually trying to accomplish as well as elbow my way through. And this is from me that has been hovering around and checking out Slow Food for a number of years.

Our friends the Bernard family, had their family's mountain elixirs on display and sale again this year and seemed to be a rousing success. They took home another Maestro Del Gusto (Master of Taste) award this year. We have been trying to not only help them push up their exposure from loyal genepy consumers from our guests, but have been trying to find a distributor/exporter for their sending their products abroad, so that some of their already loyal consumers can receive it more easily. The Bernard family have been producing liquors/elixirs and infusions for over 100 years in a historical valley where there isn't a lot of work. The small business not only supports their family, but they employs local mountian people to caretake and raise many of the herbs and flowers, bringing in much needed money to the high valleys and helps to preserve the land and mountain culture.

We stopped by with my nephew and neice to sample the wares as they took a break from the Terre Madre symposium. Jeremy is a professioanal baker from Vermont and we were both struck by the lack of representation of bread at this massive event. Bread is such a fact of life as in the staff of life for Italians at any meal that I was quite taken aback by the lack of bread. Perhaps artisan bread is such a phenomena in America because it holds a different place in the meal. Pride of place in an American meal features warm bread usually as a filler until the meal comes. Whereas in Italy bread is a plate cleaner and imprtant, but different viewpoint, perhaps.
There were no shortages of cookies and tortes, or Italian specialties like chocolate and Torrone. So I found myself satisfied to explore those avenues.
I especially liked the hazelnut honey and butter.

It was great to see pasta being made and the enormous squash transformed into sculptured art. I, of course, took way too many cheese photos and the obligatory mushrooms as well. The tower of porcini in the picture are from a small factory in the Cuneo province a few valleys over. All the mushrooms are wild and hand picked. We are going to go over and have a look at their production some time as they were so friendly and proud of their operation and I am a lover of all things mushroom as well. The white and black truffles were from Alba, world known for it's truffle festival and auction.

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