Ten observations about the Salone del Gusto.

1.) If the preponderance of attendees from those nations is any indication, the economies of Japan and Australia are doing just fine. 2.) Italian security is omnipresent. Who’s going to mess with this guy?

3.) Everything’s better with coffee and chocolate.

4.) Bill Cunningham would have a field day here. The women, the men, the kids, almost all sport a bit of style--from the tops of their heads to the tips of their toes.

5.) Does anyone here not smoke? I’m pretty sure that everyone gets a carton of Marlboros for their 10th birthday and it’s all downhill from there.

6.) The Salone is an emblem for inclusion. Disabled people are working, playing, learning and just plain stuffing their faces like everyone else.

7.) Forget “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” Here, it’s never too early for a glass of wine.

8.) Italians have a poetic love of eating. They talk about wine and food like it's love and sex.

9.) It’s possible there are not enough pigs in the world to make all of the prosciutto the Italians consume so voraciously.

10.) If cheese is a religion, this is Vatican City, the Haj, Mecca and the Wailing Wall all rolled into one. And the faithful are devoted in their worship.

All in all, a great week. Looking forward to 2014.