Slow Food

International Salone del Gusto 2004: Summing Up

Italy - 25 Oct 04

Three hours from closure, this year’s Salone del Gusto had registered 140,000 visitors against 138,000 in 2002. The precentage of foreigners attending was close on 30%, testifying to the fact that the Turin-based event now has an international following.

“Our satisfaction for this year’s Salone is more than just a question of figures,” commented Slow Food vice-president Roberto Burdese. “We’re also pleased to have attracted people from over 30 countries not to mention all the participants at Terra Madre.”

At the Salone more than 1,800 people also signed up as new members of Slow Food, a 42% increase with respect to the last edition. Some of the new members were also foreign with British, Turks, Swedes abd Japanese very much to the fore.

A couple of curiosities: the first new foreign member this year came from Bangladesh, while the youngest Slow Food member in the world was born on October 12.

“This increase in the number of members shows that visitors to the Salone are keenly interested in the Slow Food philosophy,” said Silvio Barbero, the Italian national secretary.

Many stands at the Presidia Market sold all their merchandise. Besides leading Italian products such as lardo di Colonnata (6 quintals), Cinta Senese cured meats (3 quintals), Parmigiano made with milk from the traditional red cattle breed (3 quintals), other ‘humbler’ items such as the salt of Cervia (5 quintals) and Trapani (10 quintals) and Altamura (9 quintals) and Castelvetrano (11 quintals) also did a roaring trade. .

The Italian region that was most successful was Sicily, which presented a number of newly formed Presidia.

On the international front, reindeer suovas from Sweden, umbù from Brazil, vanilla from Madagascar and basmati rice from India did extremely well. Many chefs, finally, were impressed by drinking honey from Poland.

On Saturday 1,250 people took part in the tasting of the three-glass winning wines in the Vini d’Italia guide published by Slow Food and Gambero Rosso, while the 49 Dinner dates attracted 3,000 guests. The 208 Taste Workshops and the 13 Theater of Taste events were attended by a total of 13,000 people, almost 2,000 more than expected.