Last Sunday, October 24, at the Salone del Gusto, a meeting was held between the producers of Slow Food British Presidia, Nigel Brown, head of Food From Britain and Zac Goldsmith, chief editor of The Ecologist magazine, whose April edition carried a special feature on the work of Slow Food.
The meeting began with an introduction of four Presidia: Somerset Cheddar, Perry Cider, Cornish Pilchards and Old Gloucester Beef and Cheese. Four producers described the procedures which led to the creation of the respective Presidia, explaining production processes and recounting historical facts and anecdotes that helped define local situations and raise awareness about the products in question.
Problematic marketability, poor knowledge of product characteristics, the limited availability of raw materials and a certain historical-social bias—these are just some of the causes that have slowed down the development of these products. All four producers underlined the different approach taken by the British and the Italians towards gastronomic culture, the former being relatively inattentive to local products and food quality.
The speeches by Nigel Brown and Zac Goldsmith concluded the conference. Brown spoke of the close relationship between Food From Britain and Slow Food, drawing attention to the fact that British producers were one of the best represented groups of exhibitors at the International Salone del Gusto 2004. Goldsmith spoke of the necessity of improving gastronomic culture, describing Slow Food as “the most electrifying revolution against global monoculture”.