Going Global, Eating Local

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the high jinks going on at the recent Slow Food Terra Madre conference in Turin. OK, maybe the high jinks were few, but there’s no doubt that California’s sustainability stars—like Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and Berkeley prof Michael Pollan—were hotshots among the Slow Fooders munching lardo and discussing the superiority of prosciutto made from acorn-fed pigs. (And take a look at the CHOW digest, with food editor Aida Mollenkamp reporting from Turin.)

The conference’s own blog, featuring postings in French, Spanish, English, and Italian, offers a small window onto the diversity of cultural traditions and innovations celebrated at the conference, a five-day gathering of over 5,000 farmers, food artisans, chefs, and activists dedicated to sustainable, small-scale agricultural production.

Despite the surrounding Piedmont region’s reputation for culinary excellence (requires registration), though, some Californians were a little surprised at what they couldn’t get for dinner. Chronicle writer Carol Ness quotes Blong Lee, a representative of the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission, on his Central Valley group’s quest for Italian food:

‘We went to a fancy restaurant last night,’ said Lee. ‘We tried to order pizza with pepperoni and they didn’t have it, and lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs, but they didn’t have it. It’s not the type of Italian food we expected.’

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