I am sorry to hear that organization of the Salone del Gusto in Torino seemed to fail for many people. I, however feel that the problem is really much deeper. And as someone pointed out, we have to think hard whether an alternative is possible. I founded Slow Food in Croatia in the mid-Nineties and have attended several of the early Salones until around the change of century. While these were always splendid and very exciting events with some great laboratories, I always felt that the concept itself is contrary to the very idea of Slow Food. A fair, with its exaggerated crowds and perverse logistics inevitably takes the producers and their produce out of their natural context. I subscribe to the idea that the context of consumption is integral part of the taste identity, that it is inextricably linked to the traditions which give its senses. The entire texture of an experience should be respected in order for food and beverages to be enjoyed “slowly”. All this is lost for me at a fair and I have stopped participating early on, regardless of how well a fair was organized. I stopped going not only to Salone, but to Vinitaly and other big fairs too
I did, however learn at those Salones some of the things that stayed very important parts of my food and wine knowledge, probably to the same degree as those that I’ve learned in the small cellars, drying chambers and in the villages which I visited on my field trips. In conclusion, Salone del Gusto is for me a marketing tool that can help novices getting interested and learn about agricultural products, but I am going instead of Torino in a month’s time again to a village in Slavonia to slaughter a pig with a local butcher and a friend of mine to make our own sausages and bacon. We’ll send the ham to the Dalmatian hinterland to make a good prosciutto by the time of the next Salone. E vero che non sono ancra buoni come quelli di Parma, pero gia si avicinano… Last week I went into the villages and have enjoyed vrganji (porcini), puze and suncanice mushrooms from the woods of Pljesivica near Zagreb. I would therefore recommend to everyone to raise their own vegetables, prepare their own cured meats and forgo Salone after they learn that there is a very real difference between the good food and food made for money. Buon apetito cari amici. Zivjeli!