Posted in Terra Madre 2006
No Comments »
It’s been hard to digest the whole Terra Madre experience - the sheer size and scope of the conference was a little overwhelming. The energy level was amazing and I was suprised to see what a strong political force Slow Foods is in Italy. As a cook, it’s still all about the food for me so here are a bunch of things that stood out in my mind….
I would be remiss if I did not report on the single worst airline meal I have ever consumed….US Air from Philadelphia to Torino….mushy gross starchy nuked pasta in tomato goop with a side of coleslaw (corn syrup 2nd ingredient), dry rye melba toast AND crackers….O.K.
So it wasn’t a great gustatory beginning….The Salone more than made up for it…The Presidia small producer products were particularly memorable. Literally, every bite I put in my mouth was amazing…intense pistachio paste from Sicily, rose petal syrup, cheeses galore, black turnips, white plums and pig, pig, pig!
Some of the best sights included Scott Marlow with a piece of salami in one hand and a cup of gelato in the other, the hall of hams-hundreds of gorgeous prosciuttos on display, groups of Italian schoolkids on outings to the Salone, the wonderful international delegates in native dress (especially the Peruvian women), Salumi Happy Hour …the list goes on and on.
There was opportunity for interesting discussions at every turn in the incredible on-site Enotecca , waiting on line for the ladies room, at breakfast with fellow attendees etc…. there were many people who we had hoped to run into but never did see.
To be honest we passed on some of the organized workshops to spend time with Betsy and Alex Hitt’s “Italian family”. This experience was priceless….We toured and worked in their marcelleria, had several huge meals with the extended family, learned the very special secret condimento recipe and somehow had meaningful conversation through lots of smiling and sign language-food is a common denominator! We were also lucky enough to spend an additional week in Piemonte following the conference which really allowed us to get a good feel for the region.
Without really knowing it I think we have always incorporated the principles of Slow Foods into our professional and home lives-this trip just served to reinforce the fact that these principles are of great importance and need to be passed on.