The large family of Slow Food has sadly lost another valuable, passionate and loving person. Yesterday, Friday, June 11th, Alberto Lopez De Ipiña Samaniego passed away at the age of just 61. The news came to us in the evening, like a thunderbolt from the sky.
From his first experience as a member at Terra Madre in Turin in 2004 to promote the current Añana Salt Presidium, he had the idea of founding one of the first Spanish convivia, Slow Food Araba-Alava, and from 2012 Alberto had also taken on the role of Slow Food International Councilor for Spain. Slow Food Araba-Alava is one of the most active local groups on the Iberian Peninsula, thanks to his passion and tireless energy that drove everyone. He would organize an event or activity almost every week, with the help of his faithful members, who were always with him: from his presence in the local market to training students from local schools and the Basque university, from exchanges with Spanish and even international convivia to countless visits to producers, from educational activities in schools to participation in various local gastronomic events. Slow Food was his life. In Turin, Alberto’s presence with his Convivium was unmissable: Terra Madre Salone del Gusto was always a fixed appointment in his agenda. He had been fascinated by it during his first participation and since then he has always brought many members and producers to Turin, to share with them Slow Food and the beauty of conviviality, the value of good, clean and fair food, and the importance of the relationship between producer and consumer.
The Convivium, made up of close friends before being faithful members, always arrived in Turin in groups under the guidance of Alberto, an amiable and generous person who loved to chat with everyone, his smile never lacking, and at the end of the day at the stand he always loved to enjoy a glass of the unfailing Txakoli in company, to toast to conviviality and friendship.
Alberto was proud of his origins and of the Alavese territory, his daily mission was to promote the local gastronomic culture, he was an ambassador of km0 products and quality cuisine, a lover of good food and good wine. He liked to wear an apron and let loose his creativity in the kitchen, to promote and enhance the commitment and knowledge of local producers.
The news of his death is currently making the rounds of the international network, with shock and incredulity coming from many quarters. In Spain, he was a reference point for many and was always available to tell people about our association, to create new communities, to find new members, to start new projects. His kindness will be remembered by many.
In his private life he was surrounded by his beloved family, his wife Maite accompanied him in all his adventures and events, he was a devoted father and a proud grandfather, and in his working life he was a colleague admired by many at the Diputación Foral de Alava where he held the position of Administrative Manager.
Thank you, Alberto, for the passion and conviction you have shown over all these years and for the kindness you have always shown us! Your memory will remain alive in all of us. We will miss you.
Daniela Conte – Coordinator of the Slow Food network in Spain