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Are you a foodie? Italy is the place to be

Tasting local specialities in Piedmont with the so called “Maestri del Gusto”

by Roxana Iacoban

“I am a definitely a foodie”, quoting myself and other thousands of people. I wonder when did this term start being so popular, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out: recently. “What you eat is who you are”, another famous quotation and I could go on and on. Food is pleasure, food is culture, food is comfort, health, innovation, but most importantly: Food is life! We live in a world that surely offers the opportunity to taste every possible type of food imaginable, but very frequently at a high price: deperishment of our local heritage and local food and nutrients. I think we have slowly lost touch of our own local food, but especially of real flavor. Who remembers what a real tomato tastes like? Real bread? What about fruit?

Well I can tell you about my experience in Chieri and the Saturday lunch with food and drinks tasting that was offered to us by these mysterious creatures called: Maestri del gusto. These magicians had quite a normal appearance, they talked in a normal way and they had a pretty normal job. They were all farmers/producers of food and beverages! But I’m sure if I had closed my eyes when tasting the Robiola di Roccaverano dop cheese from Borgattino dairies, the bread and foccaccia from Il Forno del Borgo bakery, the beer from San Michele, the granita from Ottimo, the apricots and tomatoes from Orti di Cascina Rubinna, and the vermouth from Anselmo Vermouth, I would have said that they had superpowers. They took me back in time when every summer I would spend the summer at my grandma’s and had real food, but that back then I thought not cool enough because it didn’t have packaging or any labels or crazy fluo colors.

What I tasted in Chieri made me feel nostalgic, made me think, enjoy and appreciate what I was tasting: real food. What was even more amazing was the fact that each producer that I mentioned above told me a story. A story of a family, of the territory around each product that made me almost relive their emotion. And here it is: food is emotion! I still remember the rich flavor of the Robiola cheese, that took me in a different dimension: real pleasure for the palat. The dessert was more than welcome because refreshing on a hot summer day. The Ottimo granita tasted like pure fruit and the fruit we tried, had a consistency that thought forgotten.

I learnt that Maestri del Gusto di Torino e provincia is a project born in 2002 with the help of various institutions like Camera di commercio di Torino with its Chemistry Lab and Slow Food and the effort of 182 Food Masters with a wide variety of food and beverage from wine to beer, meat, fruit and vegetables, bakery products, dairy and spirits. Each insitution has a specific role, from carefully selecting the products, to assessing their quality and a very high sanitary standard. The town of Chieri, during The Di Freisa in Freisa 8th edition event, was “invaded” by these tiny stands where one could taste all these wonders of the local territory and learn about the history and quality of its products.

Focaccia and cheese

Focaccia and cheese

I strongly support this project and admire every single person involved in promoting and getting these products known nationally and internationally. It is a way to preserve culture, local traditions and a healthy lifestyle despite the unhealthy trends that are threatening these small realities and their existence. The region of Piedmont and Chieri and its surroundings are the ideal place if you are a “foodie” or simply a person who likes discovering the cultural heritage through food and natural products. Do not hesistate going on a slow food tour in Piedmont next time in Italy!

Roxana Iacoban

Italia Slow Tour Ambassador @ Di Freisa in Freisa

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