Worth waiting for? Slow Food revolution finally hits Britain

Slow Food, the Italian-born movement dedicated to eco-gastronomy and the battle against the relentless march of the international food giants, is to set up shop in Britain next week.

It has chosen as its headquarters the Shropshire market town of Ludlow, a place that has successfully reinvented itself from the haunt of weekend antique collectors to a foodie Mecca bedecked with Michelin-starred restaurants.

The organisation was founded by the Italian journalist Carlo Petrini 20 years after he noticed a McDonald's restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome. It now has 83,000 members around the world and a manifesto dedicated to the pleasures of eating "real" rather than mass-produced food.

Slow Food UK is the seventh national association after Italy, Germany, the US, Switzerland, France and Japan, and boasts 2,000 members in 41 groups.

Its chairwoman, Sue Miller, said Britain was now a nation divided by its attitude to food. "Our food culture is one of extremes - food tends to be either fast, low-grade fuel or an elitist lifestyle pursuit for the affluent," she said.

"Slow Food UK aspires to encourage and support a food culture where quality, delicious food, produced by environmentally sympathetic and economically sustainable methods, is the norm and accessible to all."

The Conservative leader, David Cameron, and the editor of The Ecologist, Zac Goldsmith, joined Mr Petrini at a meeting of movement members in London's Borough Market yesterday.

Britain had created a "junk food society", he said, and it was a "social responsibility"to produce and eat good food . "Too often we just treat it like fuel, shovelling any old food down, any time, any place, anywhere," he said. Cheap food was a false economy. "There is a price to be paid for it in our health, our environment and our culture," he said.

The Slow Food movement in Britain, which administers the UK's five Presidia - traditional products threatened by industrial standardisation, hygiene laws and environmental damage - for its international Ark of Taste scheme, was previously run from the international headquarters in Bra, Italy. Ludlow was the first British town to be awarded Cittaslow or "slow city" status. The Norfolk towns of Aylsham and Diss have also been awarded the title in honour of their determination to hold on to their traditional ways of living, shopping and farming.

Ludlow has established itself as a prime destination on a gastronomic tour of the Britain. As well as two Michelin-starred restaurants - Shaun Hill's Merchant House and Claude Bosi's Hibiscus - the town has a thriving food and drink festival.

Slow Food is organised into Conviviums, local organisations which organise food tastings and other events. It has also established a University of Food to educate shoppers into the way of laid-back eating.

Real British food

* Cornish sardines (pilchards):Only one factory still uses the traditional methods of salting the fish that have been employed for 400 years. It survives as a working museum

* Single and Double Gloucester cheeses: Using the milk of Old Gloucester cows, the region has been producing raw milk cheese by traditional methods since 1500

* Three Counties Perry: The product once commanded the respect accorded to champagne, but perry-makers rapidly disappeared from the west midlands during the last century

* Gloucester beef: By 1972, only one viable herd remained of the once commonplace Old Gloucester breed, but local farmers brought it back from the verge of disappearance

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Holiday Homes - £100,000 OTE

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up