Slow Food

The Salone del Gusto and Slow Food in Japan

- 28 Jun 02

Slow Food held a press conference for the Salone del Gusto yesterday, June 27. The packed crowd of journalists, members and producers, included more than 70 representatives from the Japanese mass-media, among them, Asano Hiroyuki, the influential Editor-In-Chief of Asahi Shimbun (one of the major Japanese newspapers) and Mitsuko Nagasawa, proprietor of a magazine dedicated to the culture of food. All attendees expressed great interest in the Salone.

The Salone del Gusto, organized by the Piedmont Region and Slow Food, is characterized by a strong cultural theme, which makes it different to any simple commercial fair. Food Education and the defense of biodiversity as the two fundamental themes of Salone 2002, were illustrated by Giacomo Mojoli, Vice-President of Slow Food. Mojoli went on to explain that the eve of the Salone will be marked by a ceremony to present the Slow Food Award for the Defense of Biodiversity in the agricultural field.

Renato Sardo, Director of Slow Food International, described the organizational structure of the Salone del Gusto while Alessandra Abbona, of the Press Office, presented a brief overview of the activities of Slow Food in Piedmontese schools, (thanks to the support of the Region of Piedmont), and introduced one of Slow Food's most ambitious works in progress, the realization of a University in Pollenzo-Bra (Cuneo) and Colorno (Parma), the first and only universtity of gastronomic sciences in the world.

For an authentic taste of Italy, a selection of products were served at a post-conference buffet, including: mortadelle from the Val d'Ossola, robiola di Roccaverano classica cheese and spalla cruda from Bassa Parmense. To accompany this, wines from three fine Italian producers, Planeta, Bellavista and Banfi.

The attention of the Japanese media and public is today firmly focused on a cultural approach to food, the rediscovery of traditional products and the implications that this attitude shift could have on a social and economic level. Television NHK (hosted by journalist Toru Takagi) and the state radio, have been following the Slow Food delegation since the beginning of their visit. The delegation from Italy is being filmed at various appointments as they comment on their impressions of this Japanese visit. Giacomo Mojoli has been invited to participate in a forum on the consumption of local products from Myagi (North of the Japanese mainland) and a program on the education of taste organized by NHK at Sapporo, the Island of Hokkaido.

The philosophy of the Slow Food movement has also stirred great interest at a governmental level. Agricultural Minister Takebe, who, during a visit to Rome last month, organized a meeting with Slow Food, has now formally invited a delegation from Slow Food and the Convivium leaders of Slow Food Tokyo to attend a meeting at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture.