Putting together Turin Epicurean Capital is the work of years of weaving relationships through the different SoMe accounts where foodies, food professionals and people who have the bug for food and wine converge. This second edition especially showed the power of online contacts and how they can easily materialize in our off line lives.
Last Tuesday, July 21, the second edition of Turin Epicurean Capital started with a bunch of these online contacts we have collected over a couple of years and who finally materialized here in Turin!
Because of the rather diverse guests' backgrounds and personalities, all the round tables take very different shapes, yet the Turin Epicurean Capital format is very democratic and it aims to bring both specialists and amateurs together in an easy going atmosphere where the key words are: freedom of expression and structure (within food and wine topics), fun and friendliness. We strive to keep the audience involved in the conversations that go on stage and enjoy what we call the "magic".
In fact, when the round table starts, the guests haven't met personally before and yet after the first question, something magic happens and they all get excited to share their lives, anecdotes, ideas, experiences and points of view. By the end of the session they are friends and in some cases new business contacts.
In this respect, Bailey Alexander was very good at creating a lively and witty talk that allowed the guests to share their lives. Bailey's secret was that she took an active role in the round table and made examples related to her own personal experience, how Piedmont has impacted her and how her life has changed.
Similarly Riikka Sukula told us how she left Finland and bought a vineyard in the Langhe wine district and how she's become one of the top Barolo producers. Making wine, living the seasons, working the vines with her hands and finally selling the product of her work is what her life is like now: intertwined to the land just like her vines.
William Lyons shared how he made of his passion for high quality food and wine his new profession after his career in the Royal Navy. As a gastropub owner in Liverpool, UK his mission is to show his customers how better life can taste when you savor artisan foods, small production wines and cheeses. Life is too short to eat and drink industrially and ordinarily.
Lucy Antal explained her role as a Slow Food Committee member in Liverpool, the campaigns she organizes to slowly convert people to eat healthier, local and more natural products.
Naturally, being the Slow Food movement originally from Piedmont Bailey asked about the OGMs situation in the UK and finally touched one of her favorite topics: booze.
In most countries - Italy is still an exception, alcohol brings people together.
Lucy confirmed that as much Italians are concerned about organic food, British are about organic ales, breweries and even hard liquor. In fact, in Liverpool there are apparently many places where you can sip up to 38 different kinds of organic gin!
So, people might not care about where their food is from or getting into their local fish. but most definitely they like to know what they drink!
Bailey invited the audience to ask questions and a lady asked Lucy and William why British don't like eating fish and what David Copperfield's "mush" is actually like as the Italian word "sbobba" isn't very specific.
Lucy explained that even though Liverpool is on the sea, there is no fish culture, only the naval industry, also the local fish have never been part of the local menus and David Copperfield most likely ate some potato and milk pie.
The one hour round table quickly flew by, the participants were carried away in more than one occasion making the lives of the interpreters harder. Many things were said and many laughs were shared.
Those people in the audience who had read the Turin Epicurean Capital ad in the newspaper that morning were hooked and decided to stay for the afternoon and came back also the other 2 days.
In the afternoon Michelle Bottalico inaugurated her photo exhibit with a presentation about her life as a photographer. Michelle has photography in her blood and has been taking pictures since an early age. Her career in photojournalism and her formal training in photography give her pictures an extra dimension.
She showed us how she works and what her eye gets caught by when she takes pictures. Because her photo exhibit was focused on Turin and Piedmont, her presentation showed us how different her American pictures are.
A very talented photographer, Michelle shared some of the tricks of her trade and invited us all to see her exhibit.
After these two sessions, some of the participants went off to visit a hot sizzling Turin and a couple others made it into town right on time for day 2.