Più Gusto 2009 Sideways Part 1
Lugano, Switzerland, Saturday, December 5, 2009
An uneventful, thus good, KLM flight took me from San Francisco, California to Bologna, Italy, via Amsterdam, Netherlands, on my way to the Più Gusto, Salone Internazionale del Gusto (literally, though it does not truly express the Italian meaning, More Flavor, International Flavor Salon) wine and food trade show, which would take place from the 5th to the 8th of December, 2009 in Lugano, Switzerland a smooth, clean, elegant, and efficient city laying on the shores of the lake with the same name.
I arrive at the Bologna airport in the late afternoon of Friday, December the 4th, and my good friend Rita picks me up and takes me to my mom's home in Castelfranco Emilia, in the province of Modena. Quite tired from the long flight and the nine-hour-ahead time difference experienced when flying to Europe from the West Coast, I have a traditional crescentine (fried bread, known also as gnocco fritto) dinner, one of the specialties for which my 92-year-old mom is rightly appreciated to this day, with a couple of cousins and their spouses whom I have not seen in years. After a good, though short night's sleep, my brother Gianni drives me to the Modena train station, where I board an efficient train which takes me to Lugano via Milan. In Milan I am joined by Cristo Lepori, WineCountry.IT, L.L.C. marketing manager in Italy, who has just flown there from Rome to travel with me for the last leg of the trip and catch up before getting to the trade show.
Più Gusto is organized by the Isicom group, which took over the organization in 2008 and is doing a wonderful job. As we arrive in Lugano are are picked up at the train station by a member of the organization along with John Parmegiani, the fast talking, merry commercial marketing and development services agent of EuroAlimentari, a London, England, importer of Italian wine and food, and taken to to the Swiss Diamond Hotel Olivella, which faces the calm waters of the lake surrounded by mountains, some of whose peaks are graced by snow, in Vico Morcote, roughly 10 kilometers from downtown Lugano.
With Swiss efficiency, a half hour later we are shuttled to the Centro Esposizioni (Exhibition Center), downtown. Here we are welcomed and briefed by the organizers, then have a series of one-on-one meetings with Italian wine and food producers, followed by a pleasant dinner paired with local Ticino wines, featuring mostly Merlot which here is often produced as white wine as well.
At 9:30 PM we are shuttled back to the hotel where I gratefully crawl beneath the covers in the luscious hotel suite reserved for me by the excellent show organizers. After enjoying a couple of the delicious complementary chocolate bon bons, I wash them down with a similarly complimentary bottle of San Pellegrino mineral water.