I’ve been meaning to write about my time at the Salone del Gusto since I came back two weeks ago. It isn’t that I have nothing to say about it. Just the opposite. I have way too much to say.
The Salone del Gusto is Slow Food’s biggest event and takes place every two years. I’ve been to almost every one since they started, in 1996, so I think this is my sixth.
I remember the very first one I went to, in 1996, with my friend Evan. Among our many discoveries, were things like lardo di Colonnato, freshly pressed olive oils from Sicily, and chocolates from a new little company called Amedei. All sorts of things we now take for granted, but back then were true discoveries.
The Salone has changed a lot over the years and this was the biggest yet. This year in addition to the usual workshops, restaurants and demonstrations, there was also a section devoted to pizza and to street food. But the biggest part of the Salone – as always – is the Marketplace, which has now grown to include over 1000 vendors. And while many of the things that are sold are pretty familiar to me by now, I always manage to learn a tremendous amount.
This year was also the first year that Terra Madre was held in conjunction with the Salone. Terra Madre is the event, started in 2004, that brings together thousands of delegates from 130 countries to discuss topics like food, agriculture, sustainable development, gastronomy, globalization, and economics.
This year I spent two days at the Salone with a small group of women. This was their first time and it was a thrill being able to introduce them to things like heritage breeds of lamb, barrel aged grappa and 36-month old parmigiano. We attended two fabulous workshops and also got a chance to hear Vandana Shiva talk about important issues regarding deforestation and globalization. Sophie was also along for the ride this year, her third time at the Salone.
But like I said, there is almost too much to tell you about in one of my short blog entries. As always, I’ll be writing about different products and recipes I came away with over the next few months. But in the meantime, I’ve made a short video, just to fill you in on my general impressions and also to give you a sense of what actually goes on at the Salone.
Because that’s the question I get most often from people. What do you do actually do at the Salone? As I said the Salone is overwhelming in its size and complexity. There is a lot of stuff going on, all the time, and it’s difficult to get a grasp of what to do and how to do it. This little slide show should give you at least an idea of what I did there. Everyone’s experience is different. Here’s mine.
My posts from 2010: