IN THE just concluded Negros Trade Fair in Manila, a Slow Food Section was featured by members of the Association of Negros Producers. Barely a month has passed and some of these Negrense advocates jetted off to Turin, Italy to partake in the 11th Salone del Gusto Congress from September 22 to 26. The streets, piazzas, and symbolic venues of the beautiful city of Turin served as the stage for the event.
The Salone del Gusto fair is organized by the Slow Food movement and Terra Madre network of food communities, and brought together some 7,000 delegates from 143 countries across five continents.
Slow Food, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, was founded in 1986 in the Turin region by food critic and sociologist Carlo Petrini in reaction to the opening of the first fast food restaurants in Italy.
The association aims to educate the public on different tastes, defend biodiversity, and promote a food production model that is respectful of the environment and cultural identities.
Today, the movement has 100,000 members in 160 countries.
Aside from cooking lessons and dinner dates, this year’s fair offered dozens of taste workshops, where international dishes are paired with world class vintages, and an enormous market where visitors can meet farmers and artisans.
Horticulturalists were on hand to offer would-be gardeners tips on starting their own vegetable patches as part of the Slow Food movement’s drive to encourage as many people as possible to start growing their own food again.
Russian identical twins Sergey and Ivan Berezutskiy, chefs who have taken Moscow by storm, exhibited their modern take on pre-Soviet cuisine, while Xavier Pellicer from Barcelona transformed meat and fish into side dishes alongside a rich main dish of vegetables.
More than 900 exhibitors of gourmet specialties were present, along with 310 producers of traditional or endangered products protected by the Slow Food label, from Mexico’s Serrano peppers to Peru’s Amaranth flake.
“The most important battle for the future is the right to food for all, on the mitigation of climate change, protection of biodiversity, and man’s relationship with food production and with the earth,” Petrini said before the fair opened. “All together, with our everyday choices, we have an extraordinary potential.”
He said the movement aims to “mobilize the greatest number of people, to tell them what we do and involve them in what we do, because it’s time for concrete action.”
Chosen as this year’s theme is “Loving the Earth” which means taking care of our planet and its environment and rediscovering the pleasure of working together be it with food producers, educators, chefs, researchers, farmers, food communities or families. During the event, the public was engaged on what it means “to be a farmer,” “be a co-producer,” and “make your own vegetable garden” even in the city.
Locals Mia and Bob Gonzaga, Agnes Cuenca, Chole Cuenca Chua, Reena Peña, Sylvia Golez, Ramon Uy Jr. and many more, and our very own Benedicto Sanchez were participants to the Salone del Gusto with the support of the Philippines Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña.