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Eating my way through the Salone del Gusto in Turin

I came back from Torino enriched and inspired by the  Salone del Gusto, an incredible event in which exhibitors from all over Italy unite to bring to life one of the biggest food markets in Europe. Needless to say I had an amazing time!

I was so excited to be able to meet with dozens of farmers, fishermen and breeders from different cultures as well as catching up with colleagues and getting to know other chefs from different regions of Italy. As I stopped by hundreds of stands I had the chance to satisfy my curiosity with several questions but more importantly, I was also lucky enough to taste delicacies which would be hard to find in Rome.

And when my taste buds were overwhelmed with all those treats I stopped and attended short lectures organized by the famous Slow Food association. It’s always wise to keep updated on the most recent trends and ideas.

One of the highlights of my visit has to be the Cucine di Strada, or Street cuisine. In the great Oval tent we were able to taste the best national street food, or quick snacks which will make you keep on walking in order to find more snacks. I tasted the “caciucco” made in the traditional way as they do in the Tuscan city of Livorno.

I stopped by the Forst stand and listened to a very interesting speech on how the biggest Italian brewery makes it’s beer. Apparently now Italians are becoming fans of this drink which has a much more solid tradition in Northern European.

When I reached the Koinè stand I was particularly interested in finding out how their crash-course on pasta-making took place. It reminded me very much of one of my typical days with my students. So this very kind lady and myself agreed that my way was far better than hers, at least that’s how I remember our conversation!

As you all know I’m very fond of balsamic vinegar, and those who have tried my strawberry baaed desserts will certainly remember. So when I ran into the Acetaia Paltrinieri, I couldn’t help myself from buying their excellent vinegar which they age for twenty-five years.

Of course I prefer to make my own pasta, with the techniques our “nonne” used to use, I just think it’s much better. However, if you must buy pasta that’s ready to cook, Garofalo is one I would recommend.

And here is the latest chapter in my ongoing war for the freedom and rights of anchovies! I can’t have enough of them and I need… I must let Americans know that anchovies are NOT only like the ones in the States.

When I arrived at this particular stand, I was moved and almost cried tears of joy! The Tassoni citron juice is as Italian as spaghetti or the
itself. Unfortunately over the years it has almost disappeared, but here in Torino, in this stand and in front of my very eyes there was a small celebration of this soda which inevitably exists in the memories and the hearts of any Italian who is over 40…

My friend Christian had to take a picture with this beauty, as it says on the windshield it works perfectly and has been sliding through the hectic streets of Naples loaded with goods since 1967. LIke anything from the 1960’s…it rocks!

 

And here I am approaching the speciality of the Azienda Agricola Casa Barone, can you guess what it is?? Yes, excellent observation skills, they make an amazing kind of tomato for sauces which will make any first course a memorable experience.

These have got to be the biggest onions I’ve ever seen. I assure you I didn’t use photoshop to make them look bigger. This is an absolutely unique product that comes from a small town in Sicily called Giarratana.

I’m really glad I went to the Salone del Gusto where I saw so many different traditions and was inspired to try new dishes which I will certainly try to replicate back home. I filled my car to its full capacity and probably a little more, with ingredients and delicacies I can’t find in Rome with which I will delight my guests’ taste buds…as well as my own.

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