Earth, seeds, water, hunger, education — these are just some of the words and themes that will be defining Slow Food’s Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre this weekend in Turin, Italy. While the events have run separately for the past 16 and eight years, respectively, 2012 marks the first year the events will run together. It’s also the first time in which they will be completely open to the public, allowing everyone to experience pleasure and responsibility in one arena.
If you think it’s just about eating pasta and prosciutto for five days, think again. There are a variety of events being offered, like sustainability conferences (hint: there will be much talk about eating locally!). For those who are more interested in the art of cooking, there are workshops on everything from basic methods of cooking pasta to how to make kimchi at home held Oct. 25 to Oct. 29.
Salone del Gusto will also allow people access to a variety of regional foods that are difficult to find outside of their countries. That means everything from unique coffees from Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Uganda to regional pâtés of Switzerland. The availability of these products isn’t only a cause for celebration for your taste buds, but also for social integration within the European Union, which has strict laws designating the foods that may or may not enter member countries.
Despite all the fun and games of the events, there is a serious social message underlying the different activities and products. Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre urge the world to fight for "good, clean, and fair food," said Paolo di Croce, executive director of Slow Food. Whether or not you’re attending the exposition, the event’s message to use food to bring love and community to our tables is one that applies no matter what country we’re having dinner in.