Our association, Vox Humanitatis, cares about less resourced cultures and when possible we try to visit events where we can create contacts to such cultures. Therefore, like two years ago, this year I was at the Salone del Gusto 2010 in Turin, which is a Slow Food event. There are some good news and some disappointments which for me as a member of Slow Food is ... well, read yourself.
The positive part? I saw more products with their local name and also descriptions in local languages which is something really great. Even Franconia, the region in Germany I am from, was there with the "Bamberger Hörnla" and one of the big breweries of Franconia: Kulmbacher which this year was not represented by the Bavarian flag.
Now you might say: well Kulmbach is in Bavaria, and there I will answer, yes it is, but it is in Franconia which is part of Bavaria and the cultural par is VERY different. What comes to your mind when you hear "Bavaria"? Right, Bavarian language, Weißwürste, Oktoberfest, Neuschwanstein, Zugspitze, Munich. But Franconia is something very different and its culture is not widely known in the world. Giving detailed descriptions of cultures and languages helps both the "real Bavarian regions" and the "real Franconian regions" to present themselves and to maintain the local culture and langauage.
Besides that the Catalan producers were one of my targets: they presented their products in Catalan and Italian language. It is one of the European regions who is a really great example how Local Culture, being part of another Nation and being part of Europe can be combined in a wonderful way without being racist against anyone.
Just to present shortly one of those products described in Catalan language are beans called "mongeta del ganxet". This variety of beans is easy to recognize. Its seeds are white, hook-shaped and squashed and even after having been cooked they maintain their shape. Further Information can be found on the DOP-Website and on the Slow Food Website.
The negative part of it is: the Salone del Gusto is becoming more and more a commercial event and not so much a communication event for people passing by. While two years ago the tables were narrower and one could easily talk with the stand owners, this year communication was almost impossible. Also the representation of products from around the world was disappointing. Too many in one small place. Two years ago they were situated in the oval while now they are simply in one of the "ordinary halls" of the Lingotto. While all are talking about visitor records (which is possible) I see kind of a regression in this different way of doing things ... and for me and many others this is just a pity.
Last but not least a fun story: I had my kids with me there and they were affascinated by the salt coming from the Himalaya - so the salt was good for a geography and culture lesson :-) What does this mean? Well we may never divide local culture including language, arts, music, theatre etc. from local products - this is what Vox Humanitatis, that is us, stands for.