Salone del Gusto 2014
Visitors payed €20 to enter the Salone (€10 for Slow Food members). Many stands offered free samples while others sold larger samples of their products. There were a plethora of panini, cheese plates, beers on tap, cannoli, gelato, and an entire section dedicated to Italian street food.
Lonzino di fico, a fig cake made from dried figs mixed with almonds, pieces of walnuts, star anise seeds, and mistrà (aniseed liqueur), all wrapped in fig leaves. Next to the loznino is sapa, a slowly cooked grape must. (Marche)
Torre Canne Regina Tomato. The tomatoes are tied together using cotton that was grown between the rows of tomatoes and then spun by local women to make threads. These tomato bundles, called “ramasole”, are hung somewhere cool and airy, where they can keep for several months. (Puglia)
The street food section had food from arancini from Sicily, pizza from Naples, baccalà from Liguria, bombette from Puglia, and more.
I spotted the olive ascolane, which my mom and I ate in Marche. These are stuffed Tenera Ascolana olives from Ascoli Piceno in the Marche region. They are stuffed with veal, pork, turkey, and vegetables then rolled in a flour, egg, and breadcrumb mixture, and fried.
I ate some bombette pugliese, which I first learned about at the street food festival in Cesena. La bombetta is a specialty of the Valle D’Itria in Puglia, pork braciola wrapped around a piece of cheese and then grilled.
I took advantage of having access to olive oil producers from all over Italy and tried as many extra virgin olive oils as I could. As I am learning, the only way to be sure that you are buying genuine olive oil is to taste it and know what a good oil should taste like.
I also had fun browsing the Calabria and Molise sections, where my great grandparents were born. Even though I have visited both Molise and Calabria, my trips to those regions were short and didn’t leave me much time to explore the regional cuisines. While not as romantic as discovering local foods in a small town in their place of origin, the Salone offered a fun and convenient venue to get educated on the typical specialities of my ancestors.
Cicerchiata, balls of fried sweet dough joined into ring shapes by cooked honey, from Il Panificio Ricci di Montaquila. I definitely remember la cicerchiata being present on my great grandmother’s table and at our Italian family reunions. (Molise)
My collection of photos really don’t do the event justice. Beyond the Italian food products, there was an entire convention hall dedicated to international food products with producers from Europe, Asia, South America, North America, and Africa. Here were a couple of the items I sampled.