Giorgio De Angeli has unexpectedly left us, without giving us the time to worry about him, without weighing even a moment on our daily lives. I imagine him saying “Con permiso” and going, as though he was just leaving us to our quiet chatting and would be back soon. But instead he has gone forever.
Giorgio has been watching our association with a critical and affectionate gaze since its first and sometimes awkward steps. In Slow Food, he saw a concrete form and expression of his most deeply rooted convictions about what gastronomy, culture and an attention to local regions should be. He kept an eye on us, spurred us on, criticized and encouraged us, from near and from far, inviting us to lunch when we were in his beloved Mexico City and writing beautiful letters when the ocean once again came between us. I, and with me many of Slow Food, had the fortune to spend time with him, listening to his stories for hours, hoping that the gentle flow of his words would infect us with their beauty and precision, asking all the questions we could think of, which were actually hiding more or less successfully the only question that was really on our minds: Will you tell me your story? And then will you tell me again?
Giorgio had crossed the world and in Mexico he found his Alicia. It was hard for us to distinguish his words from hers, the knowledge of one from the knowledge of the other. Their borders, over the years, where whittled down; they mixed their memories like their projects, in that shared home that the El Tajin restaurant was for all of us at least once, a place where you arrived with your suitcase, saying: “Hello, I’m from Slow Food,” and smiles would break out, while someone would go tell our friends that we had arrived.
I hope that Giorgio has found the same welcome, wherever he is now. That he found a peaceful, beautiful and well-kept place with good music, and a good cellar, where a friend welcomed him warmly on the threshold with an elegant gesture and said to him: “How nice to see you, come in, what can I get you?”
Slow Food International President