"Aperti i XX Giochi olimpici invernali!"

With the these words, Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi declared the Games of the XX Olympiad open. For the next two weeks, the world’s attention will be focused on Turin, Italy, and the drama that will unfold.  Medals will be awarded, medals will be stripped away, dreams will be realized, dreams will be crushed … I love the Olympics!

Unless dough-kneading becomes an official Olympic event in my lifetime, I will never be participating in Olympic games. While I may not be a gifted athlete, I have always admired those individuals who can perform athletic feats. For me, the Olympics are the equivalent of a never-ending table laden with all the glorious dishes that I yearn for.

For this reason, come Olympics-time, I always check my schedule and mark down the dates of events I do not want to miss. This time, as I looked at my calendar, I was struck by the idea that the Olympics could be a wonderful opportunity to learn about food.

Turin (Torino in Italian) is the capital city of one of Italy’s most beautiful regions:  Piedmont. Located in northwestern Italy, Piedmont is surrounded by the Alps on three sides. It shares a border with France and Switzerland, and the Italian regions of Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia Romagna and Valle d’Aosta. Home to a rich culinary tradition that is breathtaking in scope, Piedmont is famous for being the birthplace of the Slow Food Moment and for wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco. It is a region whose inhabitants maintain their link to the land.

Why not take this opportunity to learn about the food of Piedmont, in all its glory? To help in this quest, I’ve added a list to my blog called the 2006 Winter Olympics. This list features links, which I hope you will find useful in navigating your way through the next two weeks. This list includes links to the official site of the 2006 Torino Olympics and the official site of the Region of Piedmont.

While I have not forgotten my commitment to chocolate this month, I hope that you will join me over the next few weeks as we spend some time "traveling" through Piedmont in search of food!

So pack your bags and ready your palates, the journey to Piedmont begins tomorrow …