Last week Fabrizio and I made the trek into Torino on the train and back by bus, for a Piedmont Region forum on Tourism in Piedmont. As we created an association for Sustainable Mountain Tourism (TEM...only in Italian at the moment), we were naturally interested to see what they had to say. It pulled in a crowd of about 350 people from across the different sectors of the tourist industry. The Region had a variety of speakers, long on facts and figures and in my opinion, a tad short on vision and direction, but these types of things are often times more a "state of the industry" manifesto and not necessarily a "fixer upper" workshop. Over all it was informative about trends and what the region is doing to promote Piedmont. I must say that it is exciting to see our region and Province take a more proactive role in promoting what we have on offer in this part of Italy. It has been left to languish with the image of being completely industrialized with no redeeming charms for far too long. Kind of like, we have kept Piedmont as our own private secret, in regards to our food, wine, art, history, and majestic mountains to ourselves, and now we're willing to share. Things have changed considerably since I first arrived here back in the beginning of this decade. So it was quite interesting to attend.
Also, since I have worked for many years in the Colorado ski industry, where we did an enormous amount of conferences and banqueting, I found this conference of interest from the banqueting side as well. It was a first rate facility with good visual aid and comfortable seating, Our coffee break area and lunch buffet area has a street map of Torino as it's flooring which I found charming. I must say that one feature that really jumped out and impressed me, was the coffee machines with the staff making fresh brewed espresso and cafe macchiato. Now for me that just spoke volumes. Having seen any number of coffee set ups, with silver urns , airpots and all the rest. To have fresh brewed on demand, now that is part of why they call it "La Dolce Vita" here. The cake at the top of the post caught my attention as well. I have made many a logo or themed cake, over the course of 12 years in the conference business (not to mention birthdays, incoming, out going staff changes and wedding cakes as well or the risque ones that seemed to be a "must have" at times). This one was delicious; chocolate mouse sandwiched between chocolate cake layers and covered with lightly sweetened cream. The individual province coat of arms discs were white chocolate and well executed. This tasty centerpiece was made by Peyrano, one of the older and finest chocolate making firms in Torino, with a beautiful old storefront on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 76. I always make a point to drop by there when I am in the neighborhood.
It was a fun day out and a nice change of pace. Coming across the Torino sightseeing bus on my stroll around town made me realize I need to do that tour some time. The open top bus looks to be a pleasant way to see all major attractions of Torino while someone else negotiates the narrow streets and traffic. After recommending to everyone else, I may just need to take my own advice. Something to look forward to.