Here I am at the Neapolitan Pappaccella booth - a special pepper only grown in that region. I'm holding my 2 tools for sampling, a little spoon and a little fork. Every booth had something to sample, so we just reused the tools.
Here Spencer gets to sample Reindeer Souvas, which is basically like reindeer steaks. He said it was like reindeer sashimi - a taste from the frozen north!
One of the best things we did at the Salone was attend the Bagna Cauda workshop - this was a tasting set up with a panel of experts that grew each vegetable we tasted and then a bagna cauda expert gave the history of the dish, and there were 4 wines paired with the bagna cauda. It was a really neat experience, and offered us the opportunity to taste the cardoon, a vegetable related to the artichoke. We're pondering growing it next year! I particularly liked the Jerusalem artichoke.
So, here's the setup. There was endive, cardoon, turnip, jerusalem artichoke, black beets, that special sweet pepper, and a special French celery. The actual bagna cauda is a stew of anchovies from Spain, good garlic from your own fields, and olive oil from Liguria. What you do is dip your raw veggies into the oily stew of yumminess and dine away. It is a type of fondue that is indigenous to the Piemonte region. The wines of choice for a bagna cauda is usually a young Barbera wine. We are particularly fond of the Barbera d'Alba varieties.
Here's Spence tasting the bagna. We both really enjoyed it and are thinking of putting together a bagna cauda dinner with friends this fall. We'll keep you posted!
The sweets and spirits lane was such an amazing place with all the chocolates, cookies, and liquors that were showcased - and all use locally sourced ingredients, not to mention the mountain herbs used to flavor the liquors we sampled. We particularly enjoyed the ones that used the herb angelica. It tastes exactly like the air smells when you walk in the mountains.
There were so many honeys to sample. I've never tasted such a variety of honeys. I really liked how they held the tastings: each honey was poured into a wine glass, and swirled to emit the bouquet of honey, then you got to put your nose into it, and then they gave you a little taste of it on a tiny spoon. WOW! Every honey was an explosion of flavor.
Then, of course, there was the overwhelming abundance of prosciutti - ever wonder what part of the pig is prosciutto? Wonder no more - there were pig legs at every turn in the Salone. Man, they were all delicious, though!
So, there it is - our picture trip through the Salone del Gusto. Stay tuned for our very own Vermont showcasing of food - it's bound to happen sooner than later, since we have products that rival even the most revered specialties of Italy. One last happy Spencer picture: