Official Opening of the Sixth Salone del Gusto
26 Oct 06
Good, clean and fair: these three guiding principles which together represent a new concept of food quality were underlined at the inauguration of the sixth edition of the Salone del Gusto in the Sala 500 of the Lingotto Fiere in Turin at 9.15 this morning.
The Salone del Gusto, this year celebrating its tenth anniversary, is organized by Slow Food, the Piedmont Regional Authority and the City of Turin. A showcase for quality food and wine, agricultural biodiversity and traditional products, it includes a huge market of products from all over the world, Taste Workshops, cooking demonstrations from renowned chefs, educational programs for children and tasting areas dedicated to ethnic cuisines. The Salone runs from October 26 to 30. Terra Madre, the meeting of world food communities, will be held concurrently at the Lingotto Oval building.
Speaking at the inauguration were Elda Tessore, the councillor for promotion, communications and tourism for the City of Turin; Mercedes Bresso, President of the Piedmont Regional Authority; Carlo Petrini, President of Slow Food; and Paolo De Castro, the Italian Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policy. The event, which was attended also by Takehisa Matsubara, Mayor of Nagoya (twinned with Turin), opened with the reading, in Japanese and Italian, of the Good, Clean and Fair Manifesto.
Elda Tessore then began by describing what a joy and honor it was for the City of Turin to host the Salone del Gusto, partnering for the first time with Slow Food and the Piedmont Regional Authority in the organization of the event. Quoting the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, she said that a society’s cuisine acts as a language through which it unconsciously expresses its structure.
President Mercedes Bresso also talked about the joyous spirit in which the events of Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre were held, and the fraternity which unites the producers, processors and consumers of food. As well as citing the internationality of the Salone, reflecting the growing internationality of Piedmont itself, Bresso also described the importance of the exchange of knowledge and preservation of diversity represented by Salone and Terra Madre, and the importance of education which allows consumers to develop awareness and a sense of responsibility. The only way to protect tradition, she concluded, was through a marriage of conservation and innovation.
Carlo Petrini recalled the first edition of the Salone del Gusto, when its products were regarded as ‘niche’ and everyone thought agribusiness was the future of the food industry. Since then, he said, there has been a regeneration in every corner in Italy, with a realization of the importance of prioritizing quality over quantity. ‘We must work towards a reaffirmation of quality,’ he said, and described how Salone and Terra Madre together could help preserve a global heritage and promote ‘virtuous globalization’. Food policy must create consumers who are also co-producers, who choose to eat not only food that doesn’t taste good, but also food which contributes to the destruction of the ecosystem or is not produced in a fair way. Salone and Terra Madre give producers a voice, connecting them with consumers. ‘A short production chain is the way forward,’ he affirmed, citing the example of farmers’ markets in the United States and the historical tradition of markets in the cities of Europe.
Minister Paolo De Castro said that the sensibility of Italians in regards to food quality has grown. The rural world, put at risk by large-scale production, is now being reappropriated, he said. Italy must focus on quality, he continued, and the European Union is leading the way with its 2003 reforms which helped promote food safety, animal rights and the protection of the environment. Quality, he said, was a field in which Italy can be competitive, as exemplified by its wine industry, built on small- and medium-scale companies, not huge multinationals. He concluded that institutions and individuals must join in the great dream of Slow Food for food production which is good, clean and fair.