Has it seemed like my blog has been a little bit out of it for the past week? That would make sense, because I’ve been traveling, undergoing what I would like to call the foodie equivalent of fashion week: Slow Foods’ Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre event in Turin. A five day extravaganza of food, free samples and intellectual conferences dedicated to real food. It was crazy, but good fun.
I’m not going to bore you with all the details here (though if you really want to read about it, I would check this out), but it was fantastic. I really cannot believe I was able to go and write about this event. There were more than a few moments when I had to pinch myself and, yes, I sort of teared up when they handed me my press pass. I think it’s safe to say that I will be holding onto that little piece of paper for quite some time to come.
What did I do exactly? It was more than just going around and eating. For some people it may have just been a bacchanal of food and drink, but it wasn’t for me. I didn’t just gorge myself on free samples. I met farmers, tried single origin espressos, learnt about street food, took a class in Italian beer and was able to interact with people from all over the world. I walked through crowds, thought about what food really means to me and how I want to interact with the process of food. If I was down on anything that comes out of a box before, I am even more so now.
Sure, there were plenty of stands selling Italian meats, cheese, gelato and bread. That’s not what got me excited, that’s not what I was interested in. The things that made me want to jump around were the farmers from Morocco who were so excited to share their different spices with me. The beans growers from Cuneo who provided me with free samples and recipes. The Indian man who shared his blisteringly hot peanut chutney. It was amazing to see people sharing good, real food.
That’s not all there was, unforunately. Beyond the people who were serving apples, peppers and grains were plenty of boxed foods. There was a big food presence at the event that made me quite sad. It got me thinking, however, about how I really want to eat. Sure, I love me the occassional mass produced item, but I really do care about eating a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and not much else. I think that we all need to know what we love and makes us feel good and I still have a long way to go to learn about what I love and makes me feel good.
After running around, getting confused, getting lost and getting fed up, once again, with Italian bureaucracy, I can safely say that Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre was a spectacular event that I will carry forward with me for quite some time. I hope you’ll read more about what I have to say over here!
Have you ever been to a food-filled event? Did you sample everything, or did you know what you wanted?