Sunday, July 15, 2012

BITEG 2012 -Gastronomic Tourism


Piazza Carlo Alberto- Turin
Some things are just too special not to share and this recent event happened back in May and the time has just gotten away from me so that I am only now getting around to posting about it because I think you will find it of interest. I certainly did. 
Piemontese Cheese Sampler
"Gastronomic Tourism", may not be a familiar term for you, but I can assure you it is an up and coming venue for travel that is getting the attention of the tourism industry. People have various reasons to travel to particular destinations, but in today's globalized world the opportunity to learn and experience  ethnic cuisine first hand in it's native home, is leading people in search of the best places to have that very experience. My husband and I know from our experiences with visitors that many people have completely designed their holiday to shop in the local open air markets, prepare the food of Italy in Italy and pair it with wines that speaks volumes about terroir and local traditions.
Local wine of Torinese

When our Regione Piemonte acquired the already established organization "BITEG – Borsa Internazionale del Turismo Enogastronomico" or International Food and Wine Tourism Exchange,  about 5 years ago, our governing region made a commitment to put Italy and especially Piedmont's gastronomic charms forward to the world. Piemonte's has long been recognized nationally and somewhat internationally as a region with an enduring heritage of exemplary culinary traditions, premium wines and exquisite white truffles. BITEG's mission is to promote all of these traditions and tourist attractions, to a wider audience throughout the world. Each year they have organized a familiarization trip for top tour operators, buyers and importers as well as the press to experience what all Piemonte has to offer. 
The venue for BITEG 2012 was hosted in Turin this past May and organized by various organizations to showcase the citys beautiful city center with its interesting architecture, museums, history as well as it long established culinary traditions like it's long term love affair with chocolate and coffee just to name a couple and the famous surrounding wine regions. Over the multi day events, the group experienced the sights and flavors that are uniquely Piemontese. The grand finale of this edition was held in the recently refurbished National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento of Turin. They invited a few of the "Maestri del Gusto" masters to provide a delicious array of local specialties that featured, grissini/ stirati, which were originally invented in Turin for one of the Royal Savoy family, along side artisan cheeses, salami, Carmagnola peppers, as well as chocolate to die for, wine and spirits and digestivi to cap off the sampling for the evening. 
Stirati Torinesi Breadsticks
Artisan Cheese - "Toma La Sabauda"
Carmagnola Peppers
We have long been involved in doing our part to sing the praises of our part of northern Italy's under appreciated Piedmont Region, so when our friend Enrico Bernard, a long time "Maestri del Gusto" (masters of taste) for his family's hand crafted mountain herbal elixirs, asked us to join him for the evening, we jumped at the chance to help serve and explain his unique products. We were more than delighted to join him as it turned out to be a lovely evening in Turin. 
Fabrizio Roncaglia and Enrico Bernard
Guido Castagna
The setting in the Risorgimento was stunning and the people we met interesting and eager to try our spirits and learn about our mountain traditions. Lucky for us too we were located between the wine table and Guido Castagna's exquisite chocolates, making the evening delightful in and of itself! Yet another reason to visit and explore the diverse corners of our Piedmont region. Bring some friends, make new ones and experience the charms the city, plains and mountains of Piedmont has to offer. I'm convinced you'll be glad you did.
Mole Antonelliana in the distance
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