For a foodie it is Disney World, or the Taj Mahal or the World Series, no Superbowl, no the World Cup, because it is truly world wide.

Yes the biennial extravaganza of gastronomy or gluttony, depending on your point of view, known as Salone del Gusto has arrived in Turin once again.  The five-day event is an amazing combination of food shopping, tasting, education, for young and old alike, specialized classes, lectures, and demonstrations. The only downside is that many of the daily lectures are in italian, (without translation.) The mass of humanity can be a bit like Walmart shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

In the former Fiat factory now known as the Lingotto Fiere, there are three pavilions organized by regions of Italy, the obligatory Enoteca, we are in Italy after all, one area of 8 rooms dedicated to the tasting/cooking classes, and the Lingotto Oval (where much of the hockey was played during the 2006 Olympics) that houses products from the rest of the world.  Italy’s regions have an overwhelming and interesting mix of products available from very small Slow Food Presidia up to large industrial producers/sponsors, like Lavazza coffee, Garofalo pasta, and Lurisa water.

While in the Oval, despite the dominance of nearby European countries, the offerings are mostly Presidia products or Slow Food Communities.  Africa, Asia/Oceania, and Latin America are represented.  North America, Canada and the United States, has the smallest area.

Many of the products from the less developed countries are similar, they are what is available or can be harvested: sea salt, honey, cocoa, coffee, herbs and spices.  These are not highly processed, complicated products.  There is no fancy packaging or marketing in different languages.  Just folks selling what they have to make a living.  There is something refreshing about that and something that seems more in tune with the Slow Food way.

Even if they have come all the way from Sri Lanka, Bhutan or Uruguay.  This is not the time for the discussion about vehicle miles travelled. . .

 

– Lisa Frank, Frank & Delicious, is attending Terra Madre, 2012.