03 November 2016

Slow Food's Biennial Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre Arrives Again

I went, I saw, I explored,  I discovered. I sampled, I chatted, I learned. I imbibed, I flagged, I stayed till the end of the night, arriving home around 2 am-ish and was, well,  exhausted, again.
That, my friends, is the nutshell version of my time visiting this years 2016 edition of Salone del Gusto / Terra Madre. Living the slow life, it seems that getting this post up has all the hallmarks of a sloooooooow post. 

There is so much more to tell and share. I was so excited to share my impressions immediately after the event, as it always leaves me in high spirits, inspired and hopeful that real change is coming to the way we eat, produce our food, treat our animals, planet and each other. However I didn't get to do that right away as we have been busy with guests, gardens and "work-away-ers", so I have had some time to digest and reflect on my experience this year and I'm still pretty excited. So was every one else too.
Bernard Elixirs with Fabrizio, Nina and Enrico Bernanrd

First off, you either are familiar with Slow Food or you are wondering what the heck is this all about?! Their Slow Food International website is a great place to start to learn about what the movement is all about. I have attended quite a few editions of the every 2 year event called Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre and have written about it every time I have gone.

Terra Madre Welcomed Representatives from over 140 countries to this years event
 I went into quite bit of detail from the 2014 edition and you can read more about my insights here, here, and here, and if that isn't enough links will come up below those posts to older editions to this event. I have been attending since 2004.  So now let me talk about this years event. 
This year saw the event taken to a whole other level. They blew the doors off of this event, moving out of the Lingotto Conference center and adjacent venues and expanded into the whole of central Torino for the first time ever. It was a risky move. The weather can be a cruel partner, but moving the event to an earlier time in September instead of October, the chances of the weather holding up were better. We were lucky this year as the weather was cooperative.  Being an almost exclusively outdoor event scattered around the town, there was no longer a need to charge to attend the event,
Piazza Reale Turin
The City of Turin Welcomed 2016 Edition of Salone del Gusto / Terra Madre
Fun for everyone

The Lingotto center had just gotten too expensive to justify holding the event hostage there, according to Carlo Petrini, Slow Food International's President and founder. Carlo Petrini really is the father of this movement and person to whom most look to as the driving force of this grass roots movement. He has written many books and works tirelessly to bring about a change to peoples awareness to preserve our culture and heritage of our basic need to survive, and of course that is our need to eat.
Carlo Petrini, leading the way
To eat. To eat together, to eat with pleasure, with awareness and mindfulness of all that goes into the production of our daily ritual and all of the ripple affects. To be aware that others do not have enough to eat  and to consider the consequences of our food choices that affects not only our health, but our planets health and so very much more. This is a celebration and hopefully a raising of awareness of all these issues and more. It's a mammoth undertaking, but in the words of philosopher Lao Tzu "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step", and so we take a step on the journey. 

Terra Madre Parade and Welcome that included trading of native foods with one another

The opening ceremony for this edition of Terra Madre featured a parade of representatives from over 140 countries attending this year. It was colorful and joyous. People were also carrying sign boards, with slogans, such as, Love your Mother, Save Biodiversity, Vote with your Fork and other statements. There was a ceremonial exchange of of traditional foods between diverse countries on stage and an general exchange  in the piazza with much merriment. It was an emotional and inspiring symbolic fellowship. It was a festive start to the festivities.
Terra Madre Opening Parade 
I love seeing what people from near and far are producing and eating from all around the world. Parco Valentino hosted most of the many Italian producers as well as the rest of the world.

Parco Valentino Vendors
There was so much to sample and discover and so little time. I arrived early and stayed very late, but truly I really didn't feel like I had been able to take it all in. I did have some nice chats with various Terra Madre people, but didn't have time to attend the many fascinating forums about such diverse food issues, in just one day, but so it goes. I did really savor every delectable experience that I could absorb in the day. I love too that there are always some crafts that go hand in hand with the food traditions and on display representing other aspects of our food cultures and ways of living as producers of our worlds foods. 

Traditional block stamping for material and paper making lovely crafts
I think I will try and finish off this never ending homage to one of my most favorite events in the world, with a variety of photos, so you can experience a tiny slice of what was on offer. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Beans and Corn of Every Type - Saving Biodiversity

Food, Costumes and Fun
A Few of the Wonderful Things on Offer to Sample and Buy if You Like
People From Around the World, Sharing Their Food and Other Traditions

Perhaps one day you might consider experiencing it on your own. 

Piazza Reale at Night during the Salone del Gusto
Next time around will be in 2018.
See you there.

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