Slow Food International’s premier worldwide event – Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto – happens every two years in Turin, Italy. Terra Madre is educational workshops, culinary tastings, speeches and panel discussions with 130 countries represented this year. Salone del Gusto is a world’s fair of food, with 4 huge halls devoted entirely to food of all kinds from around the world. We were fortunate enough to be chosen as US delegates, along with about 230 other people. We had been somewhat prepared by others that had attended before so the scale didn’t overwhelm us. The quality and diversity of what was presented, both edible and educational, was astounding. At some points in the day, there were over 15 different workshops, panel discussions, regional tasting events and special culinary projects showcasing a specific regional treasure all happening at the same time! This was in addition to the Salone which occupied more than double the space of both buildings of the Las Vegas convention center. One of our delegates responded to the question of what it was like with “Tasty and tiring.”
It will take several other articles and videos to give a more rounded overview of the event, as it is really several events all rolled up into one. We were chosen as International Congress delegates, which was a completely separate event that is held only once every four years and is attended by those chosen for their work in advancing the core tenants of Slow Food – “Good, clean and fair.” To say we were honored to be among the likes of Alice Waters, Vandana Shiva, Carlo Petrini and 650 others is a monumental understatement. On two separate occasions we felt we were in hallowed company. The first was the opening ceremony for the 230 Slow Food USA delegates where Carlo had some remarks that were amazing. I walked up to the front of the room just before the opening ceremony started to get a photo and stood there for a minute looking at everyone getting settled and chatting with their new neighbors. It was both humbling and inspiring to be in the same room with so many talented, dedicated, passionate and brilliant people who are all working at the same goal from so many different angles – good food that is real and honors all who are involved with it. The second time was in the gorgeous theatre that housed the opening ceremony for the International Congress. This theatre was in the renovated Fiat factory that has its own test track on the roof, a huge building in itself. The theatre was red velvet and oak, with all 650 delegates sprinkled throughout. It was the same feelings as with the USA delegates, but on a larger scale; especially when we heard several of the speeches of what other countries were working on or had accomplished.
With that teaser, we present for your enjoyment “A World of Taste – Slow Food Terra Madre/ Salone del Gusto 2012.” This is a short overview of photos and some short video we took while attending the event. This is only a small sampling, so stay tuned for more to come!