3000 readers a day
Mangiamaccheroni FXcuisine.com  

Slow Food Fair (page 2 of 2)

 Home >> Experiences
Keywords ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
Translations:  Italiano    Español  
Feedback77 comments - leave yours!
ZOOMLarger imagesPrint
My visit of the largest traditional food fair in the world in Torino, Italy.
Page1  2  

Slow Food is not a vegetarian movement, and there was a world of pigs at the fair

Click to Zoom

I bought a salama da sugo from this gentleman who comes from Ferrara. Not at all like those fresh sausages Italian mamas buy to crumble in their tomato sauces to make a quick ragù. Instead, this rock-hard sausage must be soaked in water for two hours and then boiled for five more hours before being emptied onto potato purée. I can either cook you some or tell you what's in it, but probably not both as I just shampooed the carpet. It is a sausage of impeccable lineage first mentioned in the 14th century.

Click to Zoom

This gentleman spent the week end slicing one stuffed pig after the other and serving it to queuing foodies! 

Click to Zoom

This gentleman makes hams that don't hide where they are coming from ...

Click to Zoom

... and prove popular with people of the shaved head persuasion.

Click to Zoom

He'll be glad to have you taste one.

Click to Zoom

Nduja is spreadable hyper-spicy salami, it is a trademark food of Calabria. The more you hear what it contains, the less hungry you feel. But have you asked what's in your beloved Frankfurters, Mortadella and corned beef?

Click to Zoom

How many piggy heads to fill one like this? Disgusted? How many have you already eaten in your hot dogs?

Click to Zoom

A typical Italian salumeria, those mom and pop shops where you go buy seasoned meats and sausages ...

Click to Zoom

... and where you can always taste a slice of sausage.

Click to Zoom

This ham bar was so busy that staffers could not slice fast enough...

Click to Zoom

... to feed the discerning foodies flocking the bar.

I dragged myself back to the hotel for a night of sound sleep and sweet dreams.

I am not sure if in the future they will again host both Terra Madre (the Slow Food convention) and Salone del Gusto (the artisan food fair) at the same time in Torino, but this was a mighty fine idea. Same types of products and you could taste, talk and buy at every single booth. I'll be back for more!

If you missed this, don't cry and wait for my Eataly Slow Food Supermarket article next week - this one is open 7 days a week.

How 'Slow' Is FX?
Most of my articles speak about traditional food specialties that speak as much about history and identity as they appeal to our palates. I have have every single book Slow Food Editore has ever published. I cook everything from scratch using mostly fresh produce bought from local farmers. Does this make me a Slow Food person? Well, although I love what 'Slow Food' does to protect dying historical food specialties, I don't share all of their political views. While I am not often seen under Mac Donald's golden arches, I don't condone the yahoos who go and trash fast food joints in the name of slowness. I like the idea of fostering the eating of dishes cooked from scratch using fresh local ingredients, but I don't see the point in disparaging the way of life of people who don't have the opportunity of spending much time to cook. While I love to buy vegetables from a local mama and turn them into slow-cooked traditional dishes, I don't like opportunistic yokels who summon the press to see them ransack a field of genetically modified plants, featuring themselves as modern-day Christ scourging the seed merchants under the Temple of Nature, or like Attila the Hun trampling the Heathen Grass until nothing will grow back. These people do their cause a great disservice. And when finally supermarket chains start buying the very same products Slow Food is protecting, I really don't have much understanding for those who claim this is an alliance with the devil.

So, if I was a badge-totting teenager in need of belonging, I'd already have placed a Slow Food Snail on my banner long ago. Why wouldn't I - after all I approve most of what this association does. But I don't need a badge to tell me who I am and can't carry the weight of ideas that are not my own. So I'll just carry on sharing my love of traditional foods without being a member. Please do as you must - to each its own.


Did you like this article? Leave me a comment or see my most popular articles.

Related Articles

Neal's Yard Dairy **
My visit to the cult London cheese shop, selling no less than 57 types of British cheeses.

Ultimate Speck **
Proper Speck, a cult Tyrolian dried and smoked pork meat, can only be found in a narrow corner of Val d'Ultimo, in Italy. Probably the best dried meat on earth, and you can't really buy it. But let me show you how it's made.

Montgomery's Cheddar **
My Christmas article will show you how the best cheddar since King Arthur is made in Somerset, including a 4 minutes video.

Hard Core Swiss Vacherin Cheese **
Follow me as I wake up in the wee hours of the morning to see Swiss armailli make a unique cheese in a small chalet up the Gruyere Alps.

Salama da sugo **
This medieval Italian sausage from Ferrara nearly made me pass out.

  Most Popular ¦ Most Recent ¦ By Subject ¦ Last Comments

Copyright FXcuisine 2024 - all rights reserved.
If you do this recipe at home please let me know how it worked for you by submitting a comment or send me a picture if you can. Thanks!


  • #1
  • Comment by Felix Alvarez
This is awesome!!! Thank you for sharing this with us..
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Felix, glad you liked it!

A nice, informative post. I almost fell off my chair when I looked up the cost for your camera here in Canada. I am officially jealous! As for the fair, it looks like a person would come away with a great appreciation of cuisine. I recently got my hands on some iberico ham, and I am still in awe of it.

As for the political side, I am saddened today to see people rush out to a McArches, but I understand why. How can a local producer compete with da-da-da! I'm lovin it!? To top it off, we have "fast food" that basically does it all for us. I should not complain though, as now we live in a culture that idolizes "chefs" for doing what our grandmothers used to do as a matter of course. That could be my future.

This is why I like your blog. Not only is there food related articles, but you really get down to the soul of the food. That is what counts.

If you ever get time, I would like to correspond with you offline (by email) about some of your settings for your blog. (A sharing of the minds, if you will.)

Finally, I would love a resource to the 1000 year old olive oil tree.

Thank you again,

  • FX's answer→ Jason, for the oil you need to contact Jamier Ramia, +34 964503250 or intercoop@intercoop.es, they speak fluent Spanish.

    About my camera is good and not the cheapest, that's for sure, but you can take great pictures with the Nikon D90, which is half the price and even better than the D80 I used to shoot half the pictures on my blog. No need to be jealous of my camera, you'll lose all your hair thinking like this.

    If you read Italian I recomend you get some of the regional cookbooks from Slow Food Editore, definitely much money in them for a restaurateur with an eye for good food cooked to a high order using affordable produce.

  • #5
  • Comment by Laura
Fantastic pictures, I envy you!
Last spring I spent a day at the Feria del Artiggianato (sp?) in Firenze, too bad I discovered the floor dedicated to food when it was about to close, so many delicious things! I wish I had a local market like that.
  • FX's answer→ Laura, on the upside you did not need to be wheeled out like I almost did, after tasting so many cheeses!

Wow, just... wow. And here I'm sitting right on the other side of the Alps, missing it all. The only consolation is that it's an annual thing, I _need_ to go next year. Those beans, hams and salamis are whispering my name. Thank you for yet another great reportage with excellent photos!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Daniel, there were also several delegations from Scandinavia. There is also a Terra Madre summit in Sweden, last year in Falköping: http://www.slowfood.terramadre.se

  • #9
  • Comment by Stephan Hofer
Guten tag FX

ich habe ihre seite vor circa 1 monat entdeckt, ich wollte ihnen mit diesem feedback vermitteln wie sehr ich ihre seite schätze und nutzen aus ihr ziehe. die fotos sind einfach traumhaft und  motivieren immer wieder auf ein neues.

zu meiner person ich bin 25 jahre alt, gelernter jedoch durch die branche delusionierter koch, der nicht mehr auf dem beruf arbeiten will/kann. viel freude bereitet es mir jedoch für meine freunde, bekannten und verwandten ein schönes aus frischen zutaten bestehendes essen zu bereiten.

vielen dank für ihre arbeit ich weiss dies zu schätzen und werde ihre seite weiterempfehlen.

mit freundlichen gruessen aus zürich

stephan hofer
  • FX's answer→ Stephan, herzlichen Dank für deinen Besuch und nette Worte! Ich bin sicher dass es wird für Sie auch in der Zukunft Möglichkeiten gegen, in der Slow-Food Gastronomie zu arbeiten. Am wichtigsten ist es zu wissen, was man will, und es scheint mir als Sie wissen es ganz gut. Viel Glück!

  • #11
  • Comment by rodney
To be entirely honest, I mostly read this to see if you ran into my local charcutier, Chris Eley, from Indianapolis, Indiana.  He's at Terra Madre this week.  I imagine there are a ton of people out there so I'm not surprised you didn't.  

I am very jealous of all of the amazing examples of slow food available in Italy.  Thanks for all the wonderful pictures.
  • FX's answer→ Rodney out with the jealousy and buy a one-way plane ticket to Italy! There were 180,000 visitors at Terra Madre, so clearly I could not include a picture of each of them, but if your friend Chris had his own booth I certainly saw him!

  • #13
  • Comment by Stefan
Great article!

About the "branza de burduf"...it is not always stored in a cilinder of bark (this is the traditional way of storing it in Transilvania, mostly Sibiu, Brasov, Arges). This kind of cheese is made throughout Romania. People also use large wooden pots, cleaned and dryed sheep's stomachs or, cleand and dryed pig's bladders.

This salty and fatty cheese has nothing fancy about it, but is damn good :)
...great stuff comes from our beloved country... :)
  • FX's answer→ Stefan, thanks a lot for these details. I have seen in a book about Turkish cheese (the fiends of Vlad Dracul!) a cheese like this one that is stored in goat stomachs or sewn goat furs. Very atmospheric. I definitely need to visit Romanian before the Euro-Barbarians will have razed your country's culinary traditions to the ground.

  • #15
  • Comment by candace
FX, I've been reading your food blog ever since someone sent me a link to your entry about making paneer.  It always puts a smile on my face when I get an email that you've updated your blog.  This entry was amazing!  I live in a very small town in Texas, with the only grocery store being a Walmart.  I can't get a lot of the stuff you show on your blog but I love seeing the world through your eyes.  Keep up the good work!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Candace, I'm glad my little articles bring a wee bit of sunshine in your day! I happen to love Texan food and proper barbecue (5 hours hot-smoked ribs in my offset cooker) so I guess there is something nice and 'slow' to eat in every part of this Earth!

  • #17
  • Comment by Shu
Thanks for the great write-up. Very informative!

The slow food culture sounds so fascinating. All those exotic foods, yet to the locals it's what they've been eating for generations. I'm also very much a fan of cooking at home using simple but quality ingredients. Its one of the things I enjoy doing after a busy week at work.

Too bad it's still very much of a fast food mentality over here in Malaysia, though I sometimes (seldom!) see an article in the papers about the slow food movement in Europe. When I ask my friends what they know about slow food, they say, "Bad service at the restaurant?"

You're so lucky to be able to get all those wonderful hams and cheeses and oils there. I've despaired over the poor fare we have here for a very long time where the average Joe only knows processed ham blocks, plastic cheese slices and the best oil I've ever found was a truffle oil containing '1% truffle flavoring'. Yuck!
  • FX's answer→ Shu do you not have some really great Indian or Chinese food specialties or ingredients?

  • #19
  • Comment by Bianca Peccioli
Absolutely amazing...However if someone is disgusted by how many pigs head you need to make salami or even saudages, should re-think concepts. These things are being made for very long and better knowing what's in it than eating a load of carcinogenic preservatives used in food. I once visited a very famous (here in Brazil) factory of frozen food ... everything is separated in containers that describe: Mixture: Pasta Flavour; Mixture: Sauce Flavour; Mixture: Meat flavour. I asked the guy (that was leading me through the tour) what that meant and he's answer was simple. Mixtures come ready to turn into similar texture and taste of the real thing, BUT IT ISN'T THE REAL THING...
  • FX's answer→ Bianca, definitely factory-made food is not way more attractive to look at than really extreme traditional food specialties.

  • #21
  • Comment by HazelStone
I urge you to not judge all of Slow Food (or really any political movement) by a few yahoos. I strongly agree with the people who ransack GMO fields, except when it comes to illegal actions like that. GMO is an irresponsible, ecologically unsound practice. It is right to stand against it. But for every idiot who takes an action like that, there are 1000 people who hold the same views but proceed civilly.

As ever ardent admmiration,
Professional environmentalist
  • FX's answer→ Well I'm sure a case could be made against genetically modified seeds, but the same people campaign to forbid the patenting of seeds. Sure, a noble idea not to patent nature, but through selection we managed to produce so much more productive seeds over the centuries, it seems that a good case could be made to let companies who invest in this to let them reap some profits. But whatever we think of this, I suppose we both dislike the moustached yokels who call up local journalists and then pose with a scythe as the scourge of nature desecrators.

  • #23
  • Comment by Pietro Basile
My compliments, as usual, and please also accept my total support on the " political" final comments. I was for one year a member of slow food..I concluded that it was just another propaganda and marketing operation when I saw the mayor of a small town being sold the concept of becoming a "slow town".
Let's be clear, we love genuine food but we also can afford it. What about the others who simply can't? In the world context, ours is an elitistic approach that smacks of snobbery to the millions of people who can hardly afford some food on their tables. Should the rest of the world starve so that some hyperprotected European ( especially French) farmer can live a comfortable life?
My son only discovered the positive social function of cheap food when in University one professor pointed out that without the big food chains lots of people could not afford that amount of proteins and calories. And that was in the States not in a third world country.
Now,I'm not saying that fast food is good and should be the norm but it's not bad either. It depends on who you are and how you use it.
And I believe we should all be a bit more compassionate.
There would be a lot to say how this European search for everything " organic" is being just transformed into just another burocratic scheme of paperwork to increase prices...I know a bit about the wine business as I made organic wine back in the '80 and can attest as it really now it's just about paperwork...Best regards
  • FX's answer→ Pietro, I think it would be great if more people could buy fresh vegetables and fruits and nuts and bread made by local farmers. It's cheap, healthy and traditional. That's what I've been doing for the last 5 years and never looked back!

You're welcome anytime in Romania, just let me know in order to give you some specific details about what to see and what to do in terms of real food and habits, because some Romanians will only tell you about "sarmale" and "mici", but there is so, so much more....
Thanks for the pictures!
  • FX's answer→ I will come but first I need to study my book about Romanian Cuisine and do a few language tapes. Transylvanian mountains look very intriguing, but would that be a good place to see really traditional cheesemaking?

  • #27
  • Comment by Stefan
Cristian is so right...you should see Romania from a Romanian point of view.
"the Russian point of view" trashed our image...Anthony Bourdain did this and I was so disappointed too see this great country in a greyish with everything revolving around Dracula...it's just so wrong...there are so many things to see and experience...
Our cuisine may not be that classy or fancy, but it will blow your mind with it's simplicity.
  • FX's answer→ Oh yes indeed, Vlad Dracul is nothing like the character from Bram Stoker's novel, I was referring to his dislike of Turks. Besides Romanian, what is the first (foreign) language spoken in Romania?

Well, the young people in Romania are speaking quite well English, this is for sure.......Many still thinks that Romanians speak a lot of French or Italian, due to the latinity factor, but, as I told, English is wide spoken among the people between 15-35, maybe 40 yrs. Not to be worried:)
But, speaking of cheese and "brânză de burduf", it will be great if you'll se the process of making the real "bulz" in the South of Carpathians style - very hot polenta balls (like tennis balls, in terms of size) with brânză de burduf inside, grated on the hot iron oven.....oh My God!!!! The Transylvanian style of "bulz" is quite different, but ok too.
Anyway, just send me an email when you want to go to Romania, and I'll do my best to provide some excellent foodies for your trip, in Transylvania or wherever.
Good luck!
  • FX's answer→ Cristian thanks for your offer to help, I'll definitely contact you to organize an expedition to Romania!

  • #31
  • Comment by Stefan
Officially French is the first most spoken foreign language in Romania, but Cristian is right, almost every young man or woman can speak English. But, after reading your "about" page, you should have no problem :)
Hehe...that "bulz" is great. You should also see how they make this thing called "balmos" in Bucovina. A mix of corn flower mixed with some kind of yogurt and cheese. This is a traditional meal made by the shepherds. It is all mixed together and slowly cooked over a fire. This mixture is surrounded by very hot oil that is never brought to a boil. A very simple meal that is not that easily made.
It goes great with a lamb stu, near some friends, sitting down on the ground and enjoying the great views from Bucovina.
  • FX's answer→ Stefan, how difficult would it be for me to visit  shepherds living in a small chalet up the mountains and see how they prepare this balmos?

Thanks for sharing those great pictures as well as your views with us! A wonderful report! All that food makes me drool and dream...


  • FX's answer→ Rosa, this fair is soooo close to Switzerland, you should definitely visit next year!

  • #35
  • Comment by Keight
Oh, just wonderful! I am so impressed with the goods on offer. The food shows here - NZ - are lovely but this one seems so much more "real" - and bigger. Although I don't have a shaved head, I would have definitely spent time at that one admiring the piggies.
Love all your articles, so inspiring. My favourites are cheese, use of animals (whole boar, rabbits head pasta - Wow!), slow foods and experiences. Keep up the brilliant work - it's a pleasure read that I can't miss.
  • FX's answer→ Kate, hold on for the next article in this serie about the Slow Food supermarket right next door from the fair - this one is on all year round.

  • #37
  • Comment by parshu
A lovely and enriching fx photo essay which even made the piggery products look appetizing; I suspect that the Nduja is heavily spiced to hide the not so delicious core flavours of the body-parts used :-). What I loved was the way in which you have captured the texture of the characters of the farmers and artisanal producers. You're a unique combination of expert foodie and expert photographer and there may not be more than a handful of people like that in the world.
  • FX's answer→ Parshu thank you for your kind words, indeed the Nduja is very spicy and I suspect they might sell a lot less if the true underlying flavor was to show...

Hello FX,
Thanks so much for making us travelling europe through your report with excellent quality pictures. This time your visit at the food Torino fair looks so attractive that we can smell from here (in Lorraine) the fine taste of all these ingredients.

All the best.

Fx Cremel.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks FX, glad you liked my article. No need for fairs to enjoy fine slow food products in the Lorraine - they are just about everywhere!

  • #41
  • Comment by Nicole
A wonderful article.  You definitely made me want to go.  Some day perhaps.  You also intrigued me with the "Age of the Dry Cow."  What is that?  Are you referring to a movement back to "land races" (does one use that term for animals?) and away from the highest yielding breeds?  I have only recently found out that some of the French AOC cheeses require milk from specific breeds of cow -something I had never known despite my love of cheese and my cousins being farmers. The thought of an Age of the Dry Cow is intriguing.
  • FX's answer→ Nicole, this was just a joke to say that now relatively less productive cows are back in fashion because people have realized their milk has more taste, and the fact that Wall Street Cash Cows are nearly extinct.

What a feast for all the senses!  Your opening photos of the beans were enough to send my heart pitter pattering.  Few foods are as inexpensive, malleable, accessible and nutritionally packed as beans.  Slow fooders and Peasants alike revel in their goodness.  

I like to do beans with smoked turkey meat and of course, smoked ham hocks.  Whenever I serve a whole baked ham, I make sure I have a 2 lb. bag of Great Northern beans in the house and the hambone with scraps attached goes right into the bean pot.

The cheeses look amazing!  

I can only hope the US will really grab on to the slow-food movement.  It's so much healthier than the likes of instafood prepared by such culinary hacks as Sandra Lee with her chemicals and "look how quick" instead of "look how good" attitude.

My parents are of Italian descent so you know I'm enjoying lots of slow-cooked braises of inexpensive meats and lots of beans!!  Thanks again for another great culinary voyage :D.
  • FX's answer→ Real Chiffonade (if that's you!), indeed beans are a great culinary marvel and some of these "slow" beans have unique character. Being able to discuss their merits with the growers, belly-to-belly, was really memorable in its own right. I hope to go visit some of them down there too!

    I was blasted by the concept of the semi-homemade, what a fraud, but funny!

  • #45
  • Comment by Bart
What a glorious and fantastic article!  I am green with envy at your experience and sitting slackjawed at the exposition.  I would love to attend an event just like this one, where the stars of the show are the small-town expert of an esoteric art, that art being the making of something delicious.

I used to be a member of Slow Food, as I was attracted to the idea of doing things "the long and difficult way" for the sake of greater flavor.   Then I received the Slow Food-produced magazine called "Slow".  I thumbed through it, and, horrified, declared, "This is a cult!"  So I think you and I see eye-to-eye on both the good parts and the bad parts of the Slow Food movement.  I don't like the hatred and I don't like the elitism, both of which are spawned by an exclusive and "pure" movement like Slow Food.
  • FX's answer→ Bart I'm sure you'll get a chance to attend this fair in the future, or one nearer you! Yes, the cult thing is really something that drives me away, they even have a guru/oracle. Some people are just suckers for this, but me, I just stay in the kitchen.

  • #47
  • Comment by Andy Basile
Bravo FX - Thanks for the wonderful and informative post. The pictures are superb, so very clear. I am a big supporter of the slow food movement - here in America it is also a slow moving movement because of all of our fast and mass produced food. While I read many of the posters comments I am struck by Piero Basile's (interesting surname) because it is a catch 22 situation. Unfortunately it becomes expensive to do the very thing that farmers and families have done naturally for years. While there is definitely a lot of hype, marketing, and politics that are now attached to these products it is undeniable that without the increase in awareness and the price through these measures it would be impossible to make products like this. These products and a whole way of life would disappear. There has to be room for both fast and slow in the world. Now my favorite idea was the Ham Bar - there should be one on every corner. Thanks again and I am looking forward to the next post.
  • FX's answer→ Andy glad you like my piece and I really hope these ideas take up in America, if they do, with the help of Hollywood the whole world will share in! Ham bar sounds difficult, there are quite a bit of people who are vegetarians or don't eat pork, and the hams are horrendously expensive ...

  • #49
  • Comment by Eclaire
Thank you, thank you for taking us to the fair!  You and your camera,
the people and the food --  tutti bellissimo (imi?)!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks and come back next week for the article about the slow food supermarket!

  • #51
  • Comment by Ouroboros
Awesome, as always FX.

I especially liked the semi-rant at the end.  I wholeheartedly agree with you.

While those of the Slow Food movement are to be commended for their dedication and hard work, there is no place for snobbery and elitism in the culinary world.  The whole point of cooking, in my opinion, is to create great tastes that satisfy the belly and the palate, and in the case of the cook, the mind.  While being able to produce traditional foods and ingredients of the highest quality and inherent flavor is noble and deserves the utmost respect, I find the greatest satisfaction from taking the most nasty, tough, unflavorful cut of meat or veggie and turning it into something that people will ask me for the recipe for.  Culinary alchemy, so to speak.  If one just sticks to the highest-end ingredients and turns their nose up at 'lower quality' foods for the sake of elitism, they are losing the whole point of being a cook...the creation of a dish that satisfies the mental and physical hunger of the diners.  Sometimes that hunger can only be sated by a Kobe beef filet with organic veggies, sometimes only by a (formerly) tough-as-hell rump roast with grocery store potatoes and carrots out of my slow cooker, and sometimes only by a Big Mac and fries from the Arches.  And if I'm not mistaken, all three can be ruined by having the chef/home cook/patty flipper handling the meal.  As a matter of fact, my love of cooking started while I worked at McD's as a teenager when I noticed that I was trying to assemble the burgers to look exactly like they did in the advertisements.  Pride in the results of my work, regardless of the initial conditions...that pride continues to this day, some 15 or so years later.  I'll start with what I start with, and in the end, you'll love what I make out of it.  That's the fun of it.  That's cooking.  No snobbery necessary.

Anyway, sorry about the rant, but I hope you all understand what I'm saying.  Give me a perfectly marbled 1" thick porterhouse steak or give me a can of SPAM...after I'm done with it, you'll (hopefully) ask for the recipe.


  • FX's answer→ Absolutely, I think it's the magic of working with simple ingredients and from scratch, when the meal arrives on the table you feel like an alchemist for having created something that doesn't exist in nature from the must humble ingredients. Pasta from home milled grain is especially magic in that sense.

  • #53
  • Comment by Shiladitya

Thanks Monsieur FX for another wonderful visual treat (not to forget your excellent commentary either)!

I have been relishing your articles on a regular basis for the past several weeks. Your blog is simply the best food blog in existence !

Keep up the good work!
Best wishes ,
  • FX's answer→ Shiladitya , I hope to see you back on my blog as a regular visitor!

Wow. You must be having so much fun! Thanks for sharing all the lovely pictures. Gives me a taste of what it might be like to travel there.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Juliet, glad you digged my article!

  • #57
  • Comment by Lord Best
Dear God, please let events like this come to Australia. Or me go to them, whichever works.
The meat section was sublime. I am not one of those people who eat meat and live in ignorance of what it actually is. I love it. When I was at school we were taken to an abbatoir to witness the suffering or poor animals by one of our stranger teachers. Many kids vomited, halfa dozen became vegetarians on the pspot. I had an hour long chat with the small goods chap and got a free ham to take home.

I agree with your opinions on Slow Food also. I nearly joined some years ago, but decided I really did not need to. Then I started hearing about 'fundamentalist Slow Foodlings" (I do not abide the word foodie) and while I do not hold the organisation responsble for such counter productive actions, I do not want to be in the same movement as they. Similar ilk to the vegans who poison shipments of live sheep goingto the middle east. Yes, you have a point to make, but how does contaminating thousands of sheeps feed help them or you?

Keep up the good work FX, sorry about the long post.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, I'm glad somebody liked the meat section too! Since I thought it might be a tad too much for some to stomach, every meat piece is on the second page, but it doesn't mean I liked that section any less!

  • #59
  • Comment by chef4cook
I am a firm believer in the slow food movement and have been for many years. If you don't know your past how can you move forward? When cooking you have to understand the traditions in order to be innovative.
  • FX's answer→ Indeed, I too love tradition and history, especially in its edible forms.

what happened to my comment???
  • FX's answer→ Tina, I didn't see any comment by you on this article. Could I have mistaken it for some spam? I'm sorry if I did.

  • #63
  • Comment by jensenly
Thanks for being candid with regard to the Slow Food's not-so-nice side.  I had contemplated joining several months ago, but after reviewing the website I became a bit suspicious.  Why does every organized group have to have some secondary cause not associated with the original intent?  I just want to get together with people who truly love all aspects of food without having an underlying agenda associated with it.

Great field reporting and love all those good looking people with their meat!
  • FX's answer→ Jensenly, indeed some of the people joining up Slow Food are really looking for a guru to tell them about the world and the meaning of life. If Carlo Petrini would hand them Extra-Virgin-Slow Kool Aid, they'd drink just about anything. Not for me I'm afraid!

  • #65
  • Comment by celso
Hi, fx, this fair may be amazing... but I,m from Brazil and I got quite disappointed to see a bottle of "Velho Barreiro" in the Slow Fever bar. This one is one of the worse, high-scale produced brands of cachaça... stay away from it, or you will never bound drinking cachaça again.
  • FX's answer→ Celso, thanks for warning me but in such a huge fair I don't drink a drop of booze or I couldn't go round and see any stand. In any case there are, in my books, very few spirits that are really great. Most is crappy beetroot ethanol laced with spices and sugar - not all that slow.

  • #67
  • Comment by Laura D.
This is going to be a long one, but you've touched on a subject I can't let pass without having my say.

I was happy to see your political statement on the Slow Food movement. I agree with you almost entirely.  Slow Food should--I say it should, and I'm right! ;)--limit itself to promoting traditional agriculture and food preparation.  It will gain more respect and a wider range of supporters through positive means than by destruction and elitism.  It's all fine for rich people to be able to buy organic, sustainable, local, slow food for every meal, but when they start destroying crops in the name of reform, they are taking food out of the mouths of the poor and money out of the pockets of the farmer.  One point on which I agree a bit with them is the suspicion of deals between slow food producers and supermarket chains.  It's not necessarily a bad thing in theory; however, in practice, what often happens is that the supermarkets put pressure on the producers to supply an ever greater quantity of goods.  The producers are then stuck between increasing production at the expense of quality, or risking being dropped by the supermarket chain altogether.  Sometimes, the producer will then have to scramble to find another buyer for the excess goods that the supermarket had contracted to buy.  I'm not saying it has to happen that way, only that it often does.

Politics and marketing are inextricably intertwined with agriculture in America, and we export both our attitude toward food and our farming methods around the world.  I have read that without chemical fertilizers, the earth would be unable to support its current population (see Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma, for more on that and other agriculture-related information--he's very readable).

In response to several other comments on this page:

I agree with jensenly who said, "I just want to get together with people who truly love all aspects of food without having an underlying agenda associated with it."  Everyone has got an agenda (even me!)--I just don't want anyone forcing his agenda down my throat.  I'd rather have a nice goat cheese forced down my throat...  Which is why I love your blog; it's just about food and the love of it.

The accusation of elitism does, I believe, apply to Slow Food.  I hate to tag them that way, because I do like a lot of what they do, but once you start eating expensive, difficult-to-obtain foods and saying they're better than common food, you can no longer lay claim to loving food as an idea.  The true test of a cook is being able to take the humblest ingredients and make something exquisite from them.  Anyone can slice an artisanal prosciutto or open a tin of Iranian caviar, lay it on the plate, and have something spectacular to eat.  But what can you do with an egg or a potato?

As for the "semi-homemade" phenomenon, I regret to inform you and your readers that, for a lot of Americans, if they put together a meal at home, even if it uses all packaged and processed foods, it's homemade (because they didn't pick it up at a restaurant already heated).  I despair of getting many of my coworkers to even try some of the (real) homemade food I bring in for my own meals because it may have ingredients they're not familiar with.  Some of them won't even put out the effort to make lunches for their children to eat at school.  This is truly unacceptable in my mind (especially since I know how bad school lunches are in America).

And a disclaimer:  While I would love to cook every meal I eat from scratch at home, this is simply not possible (unless I forego sleep entirely).  I admit to using convenience foods once in a while and even, yes, eating at McDonald's on occasion.  I don't like it, but I have to eat--and feed my son and a husband who has a horror of kitchen-related activities, though he loves the dining room-related ones--and time is at a premium.

Whew.  OK, I'm done...for now.

  • FX's answer→ Well said Laura! For slow cooking, you can in fact cook something real "slow" in large batches, and reheat it for a couple days, or even do like a reader who cooks gallons of delicious ragù bolognese for hours, then freezes them for later enjoyment. You can also prepare homemade meals in very little time - I will make a post about that later.

This was a thrill and an education. Thanks for the trip Francois.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks and I hope you get to visit one of these Italian slow food fairs!

Great article. I lived about 80 km away from there for a year.
I was surprised not to see any Horse or Donkey/Ass meat.
One day I'll get back there :)
  • FX's answer→ Oh they had donkey and horse all right, I just didn't want to offend anglo readers!

This article was like a day spent at the fair - only without the sore feet!  Thank you so much for the lovely images and mouth-watering desriptions.  I was reminded several times of Portugal.

In a follow-up to Geoff Ball's comment and your response, I personally think it is better not to exclude such things only on the basis of possible offense.  It is reality for many people and cultures, and it's good for other people and cultures to be aware of this, whether they agree or not.
I hope YOU are not offended that I'm sharing my opinion, Francois!  And of course I know it is not my emailbox that could be deluged with negative comments from readers!   ;)
  • FX's answer→ Quinn, I just answered this as a joke. The pictures I select for publication are based on the product and the quality. Anyway there are few vegetarians reading this article!

  • #75
  • Comment by Leonidas
I know I'm really late commenting, but I couldn't help myself. I really enjoy your recipes but this article was something altogether different. I liked the first part but the meaty second part was where it got interesting! I don't feel disgusted at all, I did feel really jealous when I saw the headcheese. I make my own sometimes, after my own country's tradition ( I'm from Cyprus) but not as often as I'd like, because it takes me a full day to make and two days to set ( using gelatine gets you banned from the kitchen forever )

All in all, wonderful coverage of a very interesting event!
Me han encantado tus fotos y la fina ironía de tus comentarios.
Tb tu punto de vista ausente de todo fundamentalismo. (algo raro de encontrar)
Soy diseñadora grafica, pero me encanta todo lo que tiene que ver con la comida y me gustaria ir a Turin este octubre 2012
tu articulo es de 2008, han pasado cuatro años espero que no haya cambiado mucho!
gracias y un saludo
  • FX's answer→ Gracias por tu visita, nieves.

 Tell me what you think!

Write a comment below to let me know what you think about my article or ask any question you may have.


 E-Mail (required, will not be displayed)


Please follow me on Instagram for lots of new content every week!

Subscribe and you'll never miss an article:
or RSS.

Sponsored links: DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript