Slow Food

SALONE DEL GUSTO: Official Inauguration of the Fourth Salone del Gusto

Italy - 24 Oct 02

The 2002 Salone del Gusto was officially inaugurated just hours ago, and with initial figures showing over 11,000 visitors through the gates on day one, this year’s event is well underway. The ceremony was held at the reception hall of Turin’s Lingotto Center and present on the speaker’s panel were Slow Food President Carlo Petrini; Italy’s Minister for Agriculture, Giovanni Alemanno, Turin’s mayor Sergio Chiamparino, the President of the Piedmont Regional Authority Enzo Ghigo and the President of the Provincial Authority of Turin, Mercedes Bresso.

Petrini spoke with characteristic charisma, outlining the steps Slow Food has taken to become an international movement with an eno-gastronomic agenda. Reinforcing Slow Food’s commitment to protect biodiversity through the Presidia project, he announced that simplicity and quality are the driving force behind every Presidium. ‘Many developing nations produce foods that have more integrity and quality than some of the dishes being created by so-called high cuisine chefs,’ he declared. Further developing the argument for biodiversity; Petrini introduced the International Presidia Project, calling for greater independence not only between consumer and producer, city and country, but also increased international cooperation and understanding. While this year there are 20 international Presidia at the Salone, the objective for 2004’s Salone del Gusto is 200.

In a related theme Petrini concluded his presentation by calling for a greater appreciation of our artisan products and producers. Essential for the survival of biodiversity, this new appreciation means, ”We must protect the heritage of our foods (and their provenance) with the same force with which we protect our artistic heritage”. Not only should the produce be more appreciated, he continued; but the producers must be given more encouragement; “I want to see young people wanting to work on the land, to grow and produce their typical products and to take real pride in their work with the same level of dignity, if not more than is associated with any kind of office work”.

Giovanni Alemanno; Italy’s Agriculture Minister, reinforced Petrini’s call to encourage a return to agriculture, and expanded on the argument by stating that not only in Italy but also within the EU and internationally; agriculture and related policies must be treated in a wider social context. “We now need a renaissance in agriculture, a return to quality,” he concluded, “a realistic approach to new agriculture which is driven by quality and the consumer’s interests”.