We can’t believe…

How did it happen? A year flits by and all of a sudden it’s tearful farewells and no more pig farms, Unisg cheers, bus rides, charter airlines, wine tastings… how will we cope in the months to come?

The final week shaped up kind of like last week’s, commencing with an exam and then moving swiftly through food marketing, journalism and a great big party. We had lunch on a riverboat on the Po

(photo from Andy)

with Carlo Petrini and our university staff and dignitaries.

After the food we had a little wisdom from the brow of Petrini,

and then some goofy awards and another gem of a slideshow (so there WAS a reason for taking those – must be literally millions of frames – cameras everywhere we turned all year) by our animators Don and Marta.

Next stop was Polesine Parmense, where we revisited the scene of last winter’s visit when we learned about culatello di zibello.

(Photo from Andy)

We were attending the annual Spigaroli Awards (to local food heroes of various kinds) at the beautifully refurbished Antica Corte Pallavicina, which was about half finished on our last visit. It’s now ready to roll as a swanky agriturismo for visitors who want a short and scenic walk to their dinner at Al Cavallino Bianco.

But on Wednesday tables had been set up around the perimeter of the courtyard and the Spigaroli brothers, Massimo and Luciano, were busy seeing to the comfort of their hundreds of guests. The hay bale corral in the middle holds a flock of black piglets who made up part of the award, one for each recipient: the Spigarolis would raise, slaughter and cure them, so the prize – in good Slow Food form – would be years in the making. We had some wonderful culatello, of course, including two kinds made from white and black pigs, each culatello aged 36 months.

And a wonderful tortelli in brodo with some exquisite cheese filled pastas in a light and warming broth – bliss to be in the cooling air eating such things. Fortified, the guests then enjoyed the awards ceremony, which included a special prize for Carlo Petrini.

And then it was the last couple of classes – marketing and wine tasting from Matteo Baldi, journalism from Clodagh McKenna, the last lunch together,

the last bus home,

the last visit to Tabarro,

rounds of signings (our brand new copies of Slow Food Nation, serving as school autograph albums)

and some emotional farewells…

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