Salone Del Gusto Terra Madre 2014

Here is the article in the Chestnut Hill Local about my experience in Torino:

Finally, I made it to Salone Del Gusto 2014. I have been involved with Slowfood for the past 20 years, so it made me very happy to witness what happens when many dedicated people from all over the world congregate in the old Fiat factory which turned into a convention center in Torino. I chose to stay in a hotel in town so I would have both worlds – the flavor of the town and the bustle of the Salone. I arrived in the early afternoon; I took a cab to the hotel except the driver could not find the building. We saw two suspicious individuals coming to the car and asking the driver if I were Mrs. Haines. They grabbed me and said that they had an apartment for me to which I responded that I did not book an apartment. To be cautious, my driver gestured me to not follow them. After taking off, it took an hour and a half of travelling from hotel to hotel to find a room because everything was booked due to Salone Del Gusto. Finally, a very nice receptionist in a hotel found a room for me in a nice neighborhood through the Internet. I rushed to the metro to get to the Salone and arrived promptly to the reception. It was very impressive to see the parade of all of the flags representing all of the countries which partook in the event from Afghanistan to Peru.

I had signed up for five workshops (International Network of Affineurs, Champagne: Extra-Brut and Nature, Which Dosage?, The Cheeses and Wines of Turkey, German Pastry-Making: Sweet Berlin, The Sergeant Recruits the Best in Paris) and two dinners (At Dinner with Brussels and Antonia’s Vision). I was glad to hear Claudia Roden speak. She is very well known for “The Book of Jewish Food, an Odyssey from Samarkand to New York.”

It is very difficult to explain the intricate planning of all of the different programs from workshop to educational programs for children to panel conferences, demonstrations, dinners, wine tastings, and so on.

Each country had an exhibit where they were bringing what they thought was the finest of their country. Of course, being in Italy, Italy had a whole pavilion to itself with markets and exhibits. It was amazing to taste all the cheeses from the different parts of Italy, from Puglia to Piedmont, to taste all the salami and ham, all the wines, etc.

Going to the international pavilion, you would be enticed by the saffron from Iran, precisely from Mashad, a town famous for its saffron. I had the opportunity to be there a few years ago for the harvesting of the saffron flower. It is a very painstaking labor.

I was delighted to discover that Georgia was represented, a country very close to my heart since I just spent 10 days in a vineyard matching their wine with my food. The Georgian people there, of course, knew the owner of the vineyard that I visited named Pheasant Tears. I was sorry to learn that when I went to the Cyprus stand, my hostess had already left. I’m sorry that I missed the representative of the Cyprus convivium. I had participated in the Slowfood conference, which gathered all of the representatives of the Mediterranean islands. I missed a very creative cheese maker, Olive Puentespina.

I needed some time to escape the bustle of the Salone, so I wandered the streets of Torino. I even had my nails done which led me to meet a gourmet, young lady who invited me to a Trattoria Pizzeria del Colapasta owned by a lady chef.

One of my delights was going to the little cornerstore for my decaf espresso, my apple and my cheese. It is a neighborhood corner shop/bar who serves espresso, liquor, and wine and sells chewing gum and candies with the wife (Arcangela) preparing the food and the husband (Angelo) running the bar with an assistant (Michele). It has a small sidewalk café. You are welcomed with a friendly “Buon giorno.” It never fails. I recommend La Caffeteria Del Sogni. I enjoyed walking to the metro station picking up my daily New York Times and riding with all of the commuters to the last station called Lingotto where the Salone Del Gusto was.

Eat healthy, share with friends, be open minded, and love the world.


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