Apologies all around for the lack of posts—this event is overwhelming in size and scope—and it’s not just cheese! There’s a beer hall, and a wine pavilion with over 900 wines. So, I’ve just been too drunk to post. (kidding, boss!)
Working the booth is also a different perspective than strolling the town, all decked out in cheese at every turn. I’ve been unable to see things on the other side of town, but I think tomorrow we’ll get over there.
So, startup: On Thursday 17 September, we took possession of our space, delineated by some tape on the floor, and a collection of the fixtures I had ordered. It’s a strange thing to set up a show from the US in Italy, a lot is based on faith—I can’t tell you my relief to see the big ‘fridge and the tables, chairs, etc. In the early stages of setting the booth up, we are getting there, with material on the tables, the cooler full of Coupoles from Vermont Butter and Cheese, Red Hawks from Cowgirl Creamery, Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese, and some Rogue River Blue from Rogue Creamery. Let me tell you, there were times when we weren’t sure that we’d even have cheese, watching our neighbors from Neal’s Yard with their vans unloading and unloading, but hey, they could drive down, and we had a whole ‘nother set of circumstances to deal with.
Anyway, Day 1 was all about running to the store for the many supplies that we discovered we needed, setting up the things we did bring, and being super happy to see our pallet arrive in the back of the smallest van I’d ever seen: One pallet will fit in the back, and that’s it. The boxes of supplies were jammed into the passenger seat, but YAY! It’s here!
So, we started unloading and setting—and unloading and setting. At the time, I remember thinking “That’s a LOT of cheese”, but we’ve moved through it pretty efficiently.
I’ve got to get back to the show, but I’ll tell you the most incredible thing—I had a fear that the Europeans would look at our American booth and not be that interested. Oh, how wrong I was. Amazing reception, lots of surprised customers, and lots of sales. We have Italian translators from the University of Gastronomic Sciences here in Bra, and they are wonderful, and have helped me with the essentials like “quindiche tutta, otto meta”, which is the pricing for the Red Hawk—15 (euros) for a whole, 8 for a half. We have all been working non-stop, and the response has been overwhelming and very generous.
I know that some of our friends at culture have some better pics (okay, I keep forgetting my camera), and I’ve told them to upload here at will. I’ll take my camera in today, and get pics of the dwindling cheese case. It’s around 2:30 pm here now, I’m working the late shift (show is opened until 11 pm), so I have a little time to write. I would not be surprised if today (Sunday) when I get there, we are out of cheese.
More later, I promise!