Slow Food

Gray Skies and Economic Crisis Can’t Keep Crowds Away

Italy - 21 Sep 09

The total number of visitors to the seventh Cheese, held in Bra on September 18-21, was 160,000, of which 30% (50,000) came from outside Italy. These high figures came in spite of the current economic crisis and the unfavorable weather conditions predicted for the weekend. The Great Hall of Cheese and Enoteca saw around 21,000 visitors, who tasted their way through almost 900 kilos of cheese and 9,000 bottles of wine. All 37 Taste Workshops were fully booked, and some were already sold out before the event began. The Milk Workshops were also unexpectedly popular, with almost all seats filled, showing that the public at Cheese is increasingly curious about the environmental, scientific and political issues linked to the world of cheese and dairy. As in past editions, young tasters also participated in Cheese, with 400 children taking part in the “Cheese Bimbi” educational activities on Saturday and Sunday. A big part of the event’s success comes from the many volunteers and Slow Food members who help make sure Cheese runs smoothly. Many students from hotel schools in Mondovì, Dronero, Carignano and Bra, aged between 16 and 20, also provided invaluable assistance. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity's projects will benefit from the €1,200 donated in collection boxes placed at stands and in shops around Bra. Exhibitors expressed great satisfaction with the interest shown by the visitors, which went far beyond expectations. Paolo Ciapparelli, president of the Valli del Bitto Producers’ Association in Lombardy, has attended every edition of Cheese and was particularly pleased by the public’s participation this year. Hervé Mons, the celebrated French affineur was also very happy, having seen record sales of his cheeses.