So before I begin the next series of articles, let me clarify that henceforth, SDG refers to Salone del Gusto, the food festival which I attended both this year and in 2010. The 5 day festival hosted by Slow Food is a culinary mecca that unites countries around the world, presents high quality artisan products and foments cultural exchange.
My objective was a bit daunting; 25 classes in 5 days plus exploring 5 pavilions hosting a total of 1012 artisan products. The festival opened daily from 11am to 11pm (except for the last day; it closed at 8pm). My general class schedule was 12:00noon to 21:00 of back with back classes. The topics I had selected ranged from coffee, cocktails and cured meats to sheep, sake and spices. My roster was decked with chefs from Sweden, rice harvesters from Asia, baristas from Italy and more!
I have found that the best way to tackle such an itinerary is to be systematic. You have to be timely, organized and focused. Armed with my notebook, business cards, chef coat, camera and networking attitude I set out to tackle Salone del Gusto. I was delighted to have a colleague travel with me. We had a few classes overlap, but on the ones that didn’t, we shared notes; which only added to the experience.
I made contacts from Korea, Portugal and India. I even met some kama’ainas that knew my friends from the chocolate factory in Oahu. Small world we live in… I sampled artisan liqueurs, tasted cheeses, savored cured meats, stashed candies, sniffed fruits and touched hand-woven threads.
The air was filled with cultural tunes, Italian lingo and the smell of fresh brewed coffee. Each day saturated with information I returned home to sift through business cards, review class notes and detox from numerous wine tastings. It was a whirlwind 5 days. Over almost before it started.
SDG 2012 was wonderful. Over the next weeks I will share something about each class I took and try to pass on a good chunk of the information I acquired. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the classes.