Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Pollenzo visit and Maestri del Gusto in Val Chisone

Last month we made a visit to Slow Foods' University of Gastronomic Sciences, in Pollenzo, Italy to meet up with some of it's students that had shown some interest at the Salone del Gusto 08, in learning more about our friends the Bernards' liqueurs and their whole operation. And so to that end, Fabrizio, Enrico Bernard and I made a visit to the the ancient Roman city of Pollenzo which is located just out side Bra, the spiritual home of Slow Food.

For those of you not familiar, this university is the culmination and synthesis of many ideas and efforts to create a unique approach combining "the academic and scientific world and the traditional knowledge of farmers and food producers." This international school was founded in January, 2003 by Slow Food, and the regions of Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna, as an international research, training center, a protector of biodiversity, as well as working to renew farming methods, while maintaining an organic relationship between gastronomy and agricultural science.

The day was overcast, but didn't detract from the beauty and stately charm of this collegiate setting. The school is located in an area of Pollenzo, that has been restored and designated as a World heritage site. It is very picturesque and impressive setting. What they are trying to accomplish there is amazing and comprehensive. Our time ran out before we really were able to explore the whole area and do it justice, so I do fore see another visit in store in the future.



Caro of Germany and Heva of Quebec, Canada had set up a meeting with a group of interested students to meet with us and sample some Genepy and Barathier. Unfortunately most of them had to hurry off to classes but the rest of us made our way over to "La Banco Del Vin0" to sample a bit of liqueurs and a tour of the Wine bank. This recently renovated 50,000-bottle wine cellar in the century-and-a-half-old cellars of the restored Pollenzo estate was created by a consortium of about 28o wine producers from all over Italy in collaboration with Slow food to insure their safe keeping in this climate controlled environment. They study the wines here at the school and will give tours and tastings for about 18 euros for 3 wines, some difficult to find.

So from this outing another was conceived, one to visit us in Val Chisone and visit our area and learn about what our mountain region has on offer. It didn't take me too long to think about all the different interesting operations they might enjoy visiting, some more suited to different times of the year, but a few jumped out at me. Slow Food in collaboration with the Province of Torino have an annual designation of quality, Maestri del Gusto, or Masters of Taste, that they bestow on some our province's finest gastronomic producers. We are honored to have 4 Maestri del Gusto, in our valley, producing high quality products in traditional ways, so we put them all on our list of places to visit as well as a few others on their visit up here last weekend.

The group of Pollenzo students were a mix of countries representing, the US, Canada, Germany and France and reflects the international flavor of the school.
We enjoyed taking them to one of our favorite Pinerolo outings.

First stop the Orto Frutticcolo Mercato
and the requisite chocolate fix, at Cioccolato Puro


Dora Vini is always a fun place to sip some tasty Pinerolese Wine



Beba Beer
One of the first and certainly one of the finest microbreweries in Italy.



Bernard's family home brew for over 100 years
Seems we have an ample supply of traditional well crafted drink in our valley.

Livio Ribetto's award winning Mustardella

Cheese from Val Germansca


That's some aged cheese

We all learned a lot while having fun sampling everything of course.
We look forward to future outings planned, as the seasons and interests dictate.
Stay tuned, future adventures to follow.
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