Keep Calm and Eat Slow

0

The term ‘fast food’ was officially recognised in a dictionary for the first time in 1951. However, people were looking for quick food fixes on a daily basis much before this expression was commonly used and, as time progressed, it has become easier and easier to rely on this kind of eating habit.

As an antithesis to the fast food culture, Carlo Petrini founded the ‘slow food manifesto’ in 1989. Petrini claims that the cooking and eating of ‘slow food’ reduces the frenetic pace of modern life, and promotes longer lasting enjoyment in one aspect of our daily life. Not only does this philosophy aim to improve human lifestyles, but it also encourages the purchase of local seasonal produce, organic meat and vegetables, as well as stimulating the development of a new “taste culture”, centred around the appreciation for healthy, tasty food that can be produced and purchased sustainably.

This idealistic proposal did not spread into the wider public sphere until January 2007, when the first of a new supermarket chain called Eataly opened in Turin. Following Petrini’s manifesto, the grocers at Eataly aimed to sell food under a new market structure that focuses on Italian agricultural food tradition. As a result, they have revolutionised the market sale of food by making high quality, speciality products available to the public.

Eataly also claim to ensure prices are accessible to all, yet one could argue that this is not the case for many of their products. The cheapest cheese available in store costs €6.80 per 150g (roughly £5.87) and the meat sold is amongst the most expensive on the market. Customers who shop here are prepared to pay that little bit extra for high quality delicacies.

It is clear that Eataly is not your regular grocery store, rather it is a new world based on culinary culture. Instead of your usual supermarket aisles, each section of the store is called a “station”, thus you have a vegetable station, a meat station, a fish station, a cheese station, and so on.

Each different station provides a huge selection of assorted goods; they are all of the highest standard and come from the most interesting origins. You could find yourself wandering through a basement full of special Italian liquors or end up buying a case of exotic beers from around the world.

If the temptation to tuck into the food becomes just too hard to resist, then take a seat at one of the stations – they also operate as restaurants, allowing you to sit and enjoy the food around you.

However, Eataly also has a more serious purpose; the slow food philosophy is particularly concerned with sustainability. The store ensures that the shelves are stocked only with seasonal produce, as well as providing eco-friendly Jute bags and jars and bottle that can be brought back to the store to be refilled. Milk bottles, for example, are bought once and refilled each time you go back to shop.

Sounds wonderful, right? You might be glad to know that Eataly is not limited only to Turin. Several more branches have opened around Italy, including Milan and Bologna. The grand opening of Eataly on 5th Avenue in New York took place during the Summer of 2010, and three other outlets have opened in Tokyo. Fans of environmentally-friendly living will surely be hoping Petrini’s promise of slow food, long life and culinary pleasure is equally sustainable!

For more information on the slow food philosophy and Eataly visit: www.slowfood.org.uk and www.eatalyny.com

Francesca Vaghi

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.