Organizing and trying to communicate the biggest celebration of good, clean and fair food, Slow Food’s Terra Madre Salone del Gusto turned out to be a real challenge. But it came through and the real light of this experience was the live coverage of the 5-day event. From September 20 to 24 I had the chance to attend forums and spend every day talking to producers,
And through those many forums, I realized my new obsession: mountain producers and all the amazing people trying to bring life back to their small mountain towns. These are the cultures, traditions and people at incredible risk due not only to the usual argument of Climate Change but also because of depopulation, young people don’t see a life in these towns. But these last few days I met a gelato maker and chef working to bring new innovative restaurants and cafes to their mountains in Cuneo. (Check them out: Fioca in Melle CN and REIS in Fassino.) I also heard from the Minister of Tourism his plea to push for Slow Tourism, promoting genuine experiences away from large cities, and into smaller towns, focusing not on “food” but everything behind it, the people, the story, the tradition.
This is something I strongly agree with and want to keep pushing for more visitors to Italy to get out there and buy some amazing genuine products from real people, not just touristic boutiques. For more people to move away from the cities saturated with insincere tourist experiences, and to scoot over to Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta and Friuli and Trentino and all the amazing mountains in Italy.
Not only will this experience give you something more memorable, but it also helps to sustain all tourism in Italy.
You’ll hear way more from me about sustainable tourism and mountain producers in posts to come, but back to Salone del Gusto. Other than this realization the highlights were: the insane amounts of cheese I ate, including my favorite find of Dolce Ricotta, a ricotta that has been cooked and mixed with flavors such as lemon, lemon, and chocolate chips, and blueberries! The Giarratana onion from Sicily, which is sweet and can grow to be up to 2kg! And of course the free tastings of craft beer, incredible wine (grabbed a glass of Franciacorta for only 3 euros!!) and choice of Vermouth.
Terra Madre happens every two years, but if cheese is your thing, Slow Food will hold it’s huge Cheese event in the Fall of 2019! See you then 🙂