October 4 2004 saw the start of the first year of the three-year training degree at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo (Cuneo). Founded by Slow Food, in collaboration with the Regional Authorities of Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna, it is the first university in the world entirely dedicated to food and gastronomic culture.
Lessons are now well underway and they continue with four regional field seminars, known as stages, that will take place in Tuscany, Liguria, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna. The students will be divided into groups and each group sent to one region from February 14 – 25.
In Tuscany, the stage begins with the Consortia of Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino, then moves on to the Val d’Arno and the Val d’Orcia.
Bread and olive oil producers and the Slow Food Presidia of Val d’Arno Chicken and Zolfino Beans will complete the program.
In Liguria, the students will depart from San Remo and continue to Imperia, the land of oil, of Badalucco Beans and Vessalico Garlic. They will pay a visit to a curious ‘sanctuary’ for cetaceans (marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises) in the open sea. Next comes Genoa, where they will receive lessons on the culinary traditions of its hinterland, and finally they will discover indigenous grape varietals such as Pigato, Vermentino and Grenaccia.
In Piedmont, the tour begins at the Castle of Racconigi with a historical overview of the typical products of the region, and then continues with a visit to a farm where pigs are reared in a semi-wild state, and to a Piedmontese cattle raising operation. Then come the cheesemakers who produce DOP cheeses, plus a trip to an artisan flour mill in the Langhe (Cossano Belbo). Beer, hazelnuts, rice, and, naturally, wine will complete the packed two-week seminar.
In Emilia-Romagna the journey begins in Reggio Emilia at the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano. It continues in Parma, to talk about prosciutto, and then moves to Zibello and the land of culatello, followed by the Consortia of Balsamic Vinegar and Brisighella Olive Oil.
Further information and the detailed programs of the four stages can be found on the website of the University, www.unisg.it.