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

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
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

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor